Posts Tagged With: Elizabeth Garner

The Ingenious Edgar Jones by Elizabeth Garner

the ingenious edgar jones

Synopsis from Amazon:

Set in nineteenth-century Oxford, and shot through with a powerful sense of magic, Elizabeth Garner’s new novel will appeal both to fans of historical fiction and to the huge Susanna Clarke/Philip Pullman fanbase.

In nineteenth-century Oxford, an extraordinary child is born – Edgar Jones, a porter’s son with a magical talent. Though his father cannot see beyond his academic slowness, his abilities as a metalworker and designer are quickly noticed, and become a source of tension within the family. When Edgar comes to the attention of a maverick professor at work on a museum of the natural sciences, Edgar is at once plucked from obscurity and plunged into the heart of a debate which threatens to tear apart the university. Edgar’s position is a dangerous one – will he be able to control the rebellious spirit that fires his inventiveness, but threatens to ruin him, and to break up his family once and for all?

I really enjoyed this book. I didn’t know what to expect from the blurb, and in fact it is a lot more complex than the blurb lets on. The star of the show is Edgar. He is an exception in every way. He is a genious. From a young age he is creative, exploring the local neighbourhood and inventing all kinds of things. He catches the attention of an Oxford proffessor, who uses Edgar for his needs and then dismisses him. Edgar, just a child, seeks revenge, which could cause mayhem and destruction wherever he goes, but can anyone, or anything really keep him down?

This is an exciting, gripping book. Garner is a literary genious. Her descriptions are full and rich. Her writing style is easy to get into and enjoyable. She is imaginative and creative. I liked her characters, how each was different and how they all fitted together to make this wonderful book. She explores history, God and science and family values. All of which she does successfully.

I don’t think the ending was particularly convincing, but that is the only compliant. This is a must-read book.

8/10

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The Ingenious Edgar Jones by Elizabeth Garner

Blurb from Amazon;

In nineteenth-century Oxford, an extraordinary child is born – Edgar Jones, a porter’s son with a magical talent. Though his father cannot see beyond his academic slowness, his abilities as a metalworker and designer are quickly noticed, and become a source of tension within the family. When Edgar comes to the attention of a maverick professor at work on a museum of the natural sciences, Edgar is at once plucked from obscurity and plunged into the heart of a debate which threatens to tear apart the university. Edgar’s position is a dangerous one – will he be able to control the rebellious spirit that fires his inventiveness, but threatens to ruin him, and to break up his family once and for all?

A delightful read. Almost an elongated fairy tale. It could almost be prefaced by ‘Once upon a time, a long time ago…..’ The author gives us unusually gifted Edgar and his parents living in Oxford. His father is a strict and god fearing man trying to do his best for his son but not succeeding. Edgar, young, impulsive, and misunderstood gets embroiled with the creative use of decorative iron and other inventions. The Oxford University professor who uses his talents for his own ends also ultimately fails Edgar. Edgar is unfailingly resilient however much the odds are stacked against him. The ending is quirky and made me smile. Possibly leaving room for a sequel?
Garner has a flowing, heavily descriptive style. It keeps you engrossed. Delightful escapism in a modern novel and one to be recommended.

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The Ingenious Edgar Jones by Elizabeth Garner

In nineteenth-century Oxford, an extraordinary child is born – Edgar Jones, a porter’s son with a magical talent. Though his father cannot see beyond his academic slowness, his abilities as a metalworker and designer are quickly noticed, and become a source of tension within the family. When Edgar comes to the attention of a maverick professor at work on a museum of the natural sciences, Edgar is at once plucked from obscurity and plunged into the heart of a debate which threatens to tear apart the university. Edgar’s position is a dangerous one – will he be able to control the rebellious spirit that fires his inventiveness, but threatens to ruin him, and to break up his family once and for all?

It’s actually quite hard to capture this book within a ‘blurb’, as it has a style all of it’s own. It’s set in a world where The University is everything.. a world of learning that is in control of Oxford, and is looked up to by all. In awe of all the University stands for is Edgar’s father, and to him, a successful, loveable son is one with academic ability, which Edgar lacks.

One thing that Edgar does have is a fierce determination, and without the appropriate guidance from his parents, this often pushes him towards trouble. He looks up to certain people, and when they fail him, you can feel the way it hurts him.

The book has the feel of a dark, grown up fairytale. At the beginning the style does feel a little difficult, but I soon settled into it, and it became a story I couldn’t wait to get back to.  The characters are well written and memorable, and I couldn’t help but love some, and dislike others. This is an unusual book that will stay with me for some time.

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