by Stephen Tall on July 14, 2010
Stone’s Fall, Iain Pears
Iain Pears is an author who likes slicing up his books, and dicing up his narrative. Four narrators in his most famous book, An Instance of the Fingerpost; three in his follow-up, the more dense The Dream of Scipio, spanning fifteen centuries.
And now Stone’s Fall, relating the mysterious death of a tycoon, John Stone, explained backwards, and refracted through three very different first-person narrative prisms: a simple journalist (Broddick), a complex spy (Court), a romantic magnate (Stone himself).
It’s a gripping, enlightening romp through Victorian and Edwardian England and Venice. But forget the period: the book’s exhilerating star – femme fatale, grande horizantale, tantric temptress – is Stone’s widow, Elizabeth.
And if you guess the devastating denouement you’re smarter than me.