Drayson, Nicholas. Confessing a Murder. New York: W.W. Norton and Company, 2002.
Reason read: June is the first month the weather is nice enough to be on the water. My father-in-law just put his boat in on the 2nd of June.
Confessing a Murder starts with a question, “It is sweet to name a thing, for is it not by naming that we gain possession?” (p 2).
In the style of nameless narration this is the story of a scientist, exiled from England. He has been stranded on an active volcanic island for three seasons, studying the flora and fauna of his entrapped environment. He knows time is running out and hints by stating things like, the mountain has “other plans.” He tells the story of how he got there interspersed with detailed descriptions of his discoveries on the island. Just this alone would make a fascinating story, but Drayson takes it a step further by included the fictionalized character of Charles Darwin as the unknown naturalist’s friend and companion, implying, and then later announcing, the theory of evolution was imposed upon Darwin by this friend. This is a story of blind love and deaf, dumb, and blind greed.
As an aside, I couldn’t get over the fantastical wildlife our nameless protagonist discovers. Birds that hibernate under water, vampire plants which suck the blood of birds. and many, many more.
The one quote I loved, “I do not know why we betray the things we love” (p 32). Hang onto this sentence because it will come back tenfold.
Author fact: In addition to Confessing a Murder Drayson wrote A Guide to the Birds of East Africa, which is also on my Challenge list.
Book trivia: Confessing a Murder is Drayson’s first novel.
Nancy said: Nancy said the components that make up Confessing a Murder are the perfect ingredients for a novel to enjoy, “and Drayson does it up beautifully” (p 167).
BookLust Twist: from Book Lust To Go in the chapter called “Oceana, or Miles of Isles” (p 164).
June is going to go by lightning fast. For starters, there is a concert in Bangor, Maine that I cannot wait for! Then, a concert at home. After that, a week later, an art show reception for my talented sister’s work. Then, a vacation with my best friend (Maine for the third weekend in a row). I will have many opportunities to read. Hence, the huge list:
- Confessing a Murder by Nicholas Drayson – in honor of the first month of boating weather (EB & print).
- Stories of Alice Adams by Alice Adams – June is short story month (EB & print).
- Afterlife by Paul Monette – in honor of gay and lesbian pride month (EB & print).
- Jar City by Arnaldur Andridason – National Icelandic Day is in June (AB).
- Six Days of War: June 1967 and the Making of the Middle East by Michael B. Oren – the Six Day War started in June.
- Cactus Eaters: How I Lost My Mind and Almost Found Myself by Dan White – June is national hiking month.
- I Dreamed of Africa by Kuki Gallman – in honor of Gallman’s birth month.
- Mindfulness Meditation by Jon Kabat-Zinn – in honor of Zinn’s birth month.
- Pearl Cove by Elizabeth Lowell – to continue the series started in April in honor of Lowell’s birth month.
- Envoy From Mirror City by Janet Frame – to finish the series started in April in honor of New Zealand’s Anzac Day.