Wednesday, June 3, 2009

The Lambs of London
Avidly reading Shakespeare as respite from a drab life is escape from entrapment in those lives by both Charles and Mary Lamb,the former an aspiring young writer working for the East India Company. Ambitious bookseller William Ireland enters their lives stating that Shakespeare had a lost play. He found it perusing papers of an elderly client,so he avers. Other "finds " rivet London and Ireland plans to stage the lost play and becomes friends with the Lambs by common interest,common obsession(?).Plans go awry and a hurtling conclusion awaits all.We often believe what we hope to see,and that is a fairly large part of the human predicament. An interesting conclusion awaits the book's ending.

The Lambs of London by Peter Ackroyd
Order: USA Can
Nan A. Talese, 2006 (2005)

Reviewed by Kerrily Sapet
For years William Shakespeare has left readers
clamoring for more. Author Peter Ackroyd has previously offered up a biography
of Shakespeare, and now he follows with another book in the same vein. The Lambs
of London, set in the nineteenth century, tells the story of Charles and Mary
Lamb. For the brother and sister, avidly reading Shakespeare's work is an escape
from their drab lives
.Charles is an aspiring writer, trapped as a clerk at the
East India Company. Each night he stumbles home in a stupor from the local pub,
after scholarly discussions with his friends
. Mary spends her days at home,
caring for her senile father and growing increasingly frustrated with her
irritating mother
. Both Charles and Mary are easy marks for William Ireland, an
ambitious young bookseller. Ireland comes into their lives, claiming to have
found a lost play by Shakespeare
amongst some papers he is perusing for an
elderly client. Soon other Shakespearian finds have all of London riveted.
Charles and Mary are fascinated and ensnared in Ireland's claims.Ireland makes
plans to stage Shakespeare's lost play. He captures Mary's eye and Charles's
friendship while he's at it.
However even the best laid plans soon go awry and
so The Lambs of London hurtles towards its intriguing conclusion.As Ackroyd's
story progresses, it is increasingly difficult to believe that so many people
could be taken in by William Ireland's claims - although, admittedly at times,
we all believe what we hope to see.
The power of convincing others that you are
more than they can see on the surface is also sometimes an undeniable human
It's these two basic human foibles that bring The Lambs of London to its
foreseeable, yet interesting, conclusion.

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