Shadowplay (Hardback)Joseph O'Connor (author)
A master of historical fiction, Joseph O’Connor recreates the London of the late 19th century and the complex interrelationship between three influential figures in its artistic milieu. Both a spit and sawdust paean to the theatre and a brooding depiction of a city in thrall to the Ripper, Shadowplay is a tour de force.
Shortlisted for the Costa Novel Award 2019
1878: The Lyceum Theatre, London.
Three extraordinary people begin their life together, a life that will be full of drama, transformation, passionate and painful devotion to art and to one another.
Henry Irving, the Chief, is the volcanic leading man and impresario; Ellen Terry is the most lauded and desired actress of her generation, outspoken and generous of heart; and ever following along behind them in the shadows is the unremarkable theatre manager, Bram Stoker.
Fresh from life in Dublin as a clerk, Bram may seem the least colourful of the trio but he is wrestling with dark demons in a new city, in a new marriage, and with his own literary aspirations. As he walks the London streets at night, streets haunted by the Ripper and the gossip which swirls around his friend Oscar Wilde, he finds new inspiration. But the Chief is determined that nothing will get in the way of his manager's devotion to the Lyceum and to himself. And both men are enchanted by the beauty and boldness of the elusive Ellen.
This exceptional novel explores the complexities of love that stands dangerously outside social convention, the restlessness of creativity, and the experiences that led to Dracula, the most iconic supernatural tale of all time.
Publisher: Vintage Publishing
Number of pages: 320
Weight: 536 g
Dimensions: 240 x 162 x 31 mm
'..a hugely entertaining book about the grand scope of friendship and love, it is also, movingly – at times, agonisingly – a story of transience, loss and true loyalty' - The Guardian
'A vividly written and atmospheric meditation on the creative process, it has an added poignancy - Bram Stoker died never knowing what a phenomenon Dracula would become' - The Daily Mail
'A richly textured novel about the origins of Dracula' - The Sunday Times
'There are few living writers who can take us back in time so assuredly, with such sensual density, through such gorgeous sentences. Joseph O'Connor is a wonder, and Shadowplay is a triumph.' - Peter Carey, twice winner of the Booker Prize
'Joseph O'Connor is a very great artist and storyteller. The quotient of enjoyment in his extraordinary new novel is stupendous.' - Sebastian Barry
'Wonderful. The writing is beautiful.' - Derek Jacobi
'A hugely entertaining and atmospheric novel, one can almost smell the greasepaint.' - Deborah Moggach
'A thrilling novel, exquisitely contrived to show the characters whose loves and lives inspired Dracula. A great tribute, and a work of art. Deeply affecting.' - Essie Fox
'A virtuoso act of literary ventriloquism. Shadowplay is funny, smart, tender, wise and written with inch-perfect precision.' - Colum McCann
'One of the best writers working today.' - Alice Walker
'One of Ireland's finest writers.' - John Boyne, Washington Post
'Joseph O'Connor is the only writer I know who can make you laugh and cry in the same sentence.' - Lawrence Norfolk
'As fascinating and memorable as anything O'Connor has done. The writing, too, as thrilling as ever. A great writer performing Olympian literary storytelling.' - Sir Bob Geldof
'A luminous and masterly depiction of Bram Stoker's time at the Lyceum, this wonderful book explores the complex nature of love and creativity. Utterly captivating.' - Sophia Tobin
'A lushly enjoyable pastiche of fin-de-siecle prose, in which Victorian euphemism is an authenticating stamp that double as a source of humour.' - Anthony Cummins, Observer
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ReviewsView all Sign In To Write A Review
“The man who created Dracula....”
Not many people know that Bram Stoker was the manager of the Lyceum Theatre in the West End. This is a story about the struggles and inspirations that influenced Bram Stoker’s literature. We learn that the brilliant... More
Absolutely beautiful. I loved every word. The (fictional) story of Bram Stoker with a fabulous cast of players, The Chief - Henry Irving, The leading lady - Ellen Terry and the flamboyant - Oscar Wilde.
I savoured... More
“A Theatre, a Writer, and a Ghost.”
A very interesting, albeit fictional, look into some of the most interesting years in Bram Stoker's life. The characters are fascinating, especially in their relationships with each other, and it is interesting... More
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