Saturday, October 25, 2008

Review: The Lake of Dead Languages

This book has been blurbed as being comparable to Donna Tartt's Secret History, and indeed, there are some distinct similarities. Both books enter the world of New England private schools, particularly the world of classics students obsessed with their teachers. Both books involve students entranced by the rites of the ancients, and in both the students perform clandestine rites with tragic consequences. All of these similarities aside, the two books have different purposes. Goodman's novel follows Latin teacher Jane Hudson, a teacher and alumna of the Heart Lake school in upstate New York. Hudson had a horrible experience at Heart Lake, and when mementos from her past start washing up in the lake, she has little idea who or what could be responsible. Deaths and accidents in and around the school make it clear that Jane is being pursued by a malevolent force, and she is in real danger. And that danger makes this a gripping book. The story sucked me in quickly and held me to the end. Though I had determined the responsible party and the twist at the end before Goodman revealed it, the book was still engaging, and I couldn't wait to get to the end. In this book Goodman has woven a complex narrative with multiple layers of characters and relationships. The story jumps back and forth between Jane's past and present, and culminates when the two parts of her life collide. Suspense builds quickly in this book. Full of suspense and psychological intrigue, I couldn't put the book down. I'll certainly be reading other of Goodman's books soon. This was a great choice for the fall and for the RIP challenge.

Carol Goodman, The Lake of Dead Languages (Ballantine, 2005) ISBN: 034548715X


Marg said...

I just finished reading a Goodman book myself - The Sonnet Lover. I liked both of these books and The Seduction of Water. Wasn't so keen on The Drowning Tree though.

GeraniumCat said...

I was looking for something mildly scary (not ready to give up on Hallowe'en yet) and this sounds like a fun read, I shall look out for it.

Nicole said...

I read this book and was really into it. The ending was just so rushed and slapped together that it just ruined the whole experience for me.