By Edward Docx
(Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, Hardcover, 9780618343973, 368pp.)
Publication Date: October 2003
Other Editions of This Title: Paperback
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This beguiling first novel is a provocative romantic comedy centered on a young London calligrapher named Jasper, who is an engaging, intelligent serial seducer and a breaker of hearts. But when he meets Madeleine, a captivating but enigmatic woman who is his equal in every way, he falls helplessly in love. Vulnerable for the first time, he is headed for his comeuppance at last. Jasper is transcribing the Songs and Sonnets of that other great lover, John Donne, for a rich American client. As he works on them (revealing to us the fascinating art of the calligrapher), he discovers that these wise and beautiful love poems illuminate his own experiences -- of the difference between love and lust, of the play of truth and deceit between men and women, of the cost of constancy.
As well as bringing modern London vividly to life, The Calligrapher is keenly observant of contemporary relationships and modern mores. Underlying its sparkling surface are Jasper's wry but heartfelt lamentations about the diminishment of our culture: the trivial masquerading as the consequential, the rising tide of ignorance, the triumph of the lowest common denominator. At once wickedly witty and deeply serious, sweet and cynical, romantic and reflective, this stylish, wonderfully entertaining novel is an accomplished and exciting literary debut.
Edward Docx is the author of the acclaimed The Calligrapher, named a San Francisco Chronicle Best Book of the Year. He lives in London.
Nimble and extremely deft . . . A witty debut.”
Kirkus Reviews, Starred
"The double surprises that end the narrative are diabolically satisfying.” Publishers Weekly
"Brilliant...Docx manages to comment astutely on Donne's poetry while crafting a thoroughly modern entertainment on hip young Londoners." Library Journal Starred
"[Docx] writes in a deliciously evocative manner . . . that links him with favored authors like Fitzgerald and Nabokov." --Barbara Hoffert Library Journal
"Pure delight." --Rebecca Ascher-Walsh Entertainment Weekly
"Sharp and wryly funny." People Magazine
"A sly debut." The New Yorker