Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Words are things

This novel was all but shoved upon me by my father. Now I can't say that I'm a big Byron; I've never delved too much into him. And I have never heard of Ada Lovelace, Byron's daughter. This book weaved together three different stories: A novel that Lord Byron could have written, Ada's notes on the novel, and the email correspondence of the woman who is researching the work.

The story that Bryon tells is very interesting. A young man, Ali, is brought to England with his father, Lord Sane. He is treated pretty horribly and has several romantic run ins. The whole story ends up mirroring Lord Byron and his relationship with Ada Lovelace.

Ada's notes revel her strain with her absent father and the pain she she has to deal with from her cervical cancer.

The emails are also between a young woman and her estranged father. She emails him because he was a Lord Byron scholar. She also emails with her girlfriend back in the states.

The book is a little long, I had a hard time sticking with it at the end. I got a little confused in some of the email sections because their names aren't used, just their emails. A little hard to keep track of.

I liked this book, but not as much as I thought I would. Parts of it really held my attention and parts of it kind of bored me. The whole thing did make me more interested in Lord Byron's actual work and about Ada's life. I had no idea that she was involved in the development of the analytical engine. Her mother was pretty crazy and kept her from anything creative so Ada poured her brains into science. I'm going to have to pick up a bio of hers sometime soon.

A few quotes:

"Unbearable did it soon become to them - who were a world to each other, and yet could not shake the world from them!" page 347

"The dead we love keep on dying for us again and again, and he is one of those I love." 273

"Sticks and stones, so the children cry, may break my bones, but names shall never hurt me. Ah no. He said it himself: words are things." 314

"Happy endings are all alike, disasters may be unique." 268

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