Bookish Matters

The person, be it gentleman or lady, who has not pleasure in a good novel, must be intolerably stupid.

—Jane Austen, Northanger Abbey

Friday, May 14, 2010

Footsteps by Leon Garfield

A luvverly book, Footsteps, a luvverly book indeed. Here's the rub: A twelve-year-old boy, haunted by his father's guilt-ridden ghost, runs away to eighteenth-century London to set right the misdeeds done in his father's past. He meets a dwarf and some Artful Dodger- and Fagin-esque characters, goes in and out of taverns, lives on rooftops, almost gets murdered several times, and discovers there is a hidden ten thousand pounds just waiting for him to find it. Garfield creates a number of winning characters, the sort you can't help loving despite their questionable motives. Footsteps is full of wit and humor, and there are some truly beautiful descriptions. As for the plot: It does exactly what it should.

I'll leave you with a quote that perhaps does not sum up the book, but which I find quite amusing.

He was one of those kindly old gentlemen who think that they know all about boys and that a boy's heart desires nothing more than cake and that, in all probability, the affair of Cain and Abel would have turned out better if only Cain had been given more cake.

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