Thursday, 14 February 2013

The Tale of Raw Head and Bloody Bones - Jack Wolf

I'm just going to start out by saying that I have no idea how to describe this book. I shall endeavor to do my best but no promises.

The Tale of Raw Head and Bloody Bones takes place in the mid-eighteenth century and centers around the life of Tristan Hart, the child of a wealthy family. His mother died when he was young and his father has always been in mourning since. He has his older sister and a neighbor boy, Nathanial Ravenscroft, for friends.

Tristan is a weak child and suffers from bouts of violence. However, he is also very clever and when he's old enough, gets to go into London to study anatomy. He's been interested in anatomy since he was a child, performing dissections on wildlife. You see, Tristan's also a psychopath. 

Tristan spends his life trying to deal with the strange emotions he's always feeling, his bouts of psychological breakdown and his intense desire to study and enhance science.  He also has to deal with his family, the girl he falls in love with and his desire to cause pain.

This book is odd. There's just no way around it. It's very, very weird. It's also written in a strange style, full of strange capitalization choices and old fashioned words. Although that seemed like it was going to get really annoying after the first few pages, it was actually surprisingly well done, adding to the feel of the novel and never really getting on my nerves. 

Although it was hard to relate to the characters, the plot itself was very interesting. I found myself always wanting to know what happened next. I wouldn't say that I couldn't put it down because I definitely could but I was extremely curious about events and how much of Tristan's words were a psychological break and how much were true.

I wouldn't say that I really liked this book but I definitely found it interesting. I'm glad I read it but I don't know if I would read something like it again. It has it's moments, the end in particular is very good, and I enjoyed the unreliable narrator. If strange books about psychopaths in the 1700s sounds interesting to you, then you'd probably like it. It does have some intense descriptions of medical practices but all in all, it's a pretty good book. 

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