Review 1572: Shadowplay

Joseph O’Connor’s Ghost Light dealt with a relationship in the life of the playwright John Millington Synge. Shadowplay deals with a period in the life of another Irish literary figure, Bram Stoker.

In a novel that shifts back and forth over a 30-year time period, Stoker goes to work as general manager for the Lyceum Theater in London, having been hired by Henry Irving, the greatest Shakespearean actor of his time. Stoker has taken what he believes is a part-time job that will allow him to work on his fiction, but he finds himself assuming responsibility for everything in the theater, an overwhelming position. Further, he has to cope with his employer’s extravagance and his occasional wild rages. Worse, Irving is dismissive of Stoker’s literary efforts. Nevertheless, they form a lasting friendship.

Also involved in the theater is the famous actress Ellen Terry. Shadowplay is primarily about the enduring relationship between these three. However, it reflects other events of its time, particularly Jack the Ripper and the trial of Oscar Wilde. It deals with Stoker’s struggles to earn a living as a writer, a feat he never accomplished. And it has a ghost.

Shadowplay, which I read for my Walter Scott project, was involving and interesting.

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7 thoughts on “Review 1572: Shadowplay

  1. Lory November 2, 2020 / 12:33 pm

    I loved this book!

  2. Helen November 2, 2020 / 12:44 pm

    I’m glad you liked this. It does sound interesting and I’m looking forward to reading it as I enjoyed Ghost Light and thought it was beautifully written.

    • whatmeread November 2, 2020 / 4:12 pm

      I think you’ll like this one, too.

  3. kimbofo November 2, 2020 / 5:43 pm

    The most under rated book of 2019! I loved it but it seemed to attract so little attention except in O’Connor’s native Ireland. It’s pleasing to see your review here. This book deserves a wide audience.

  4. Cathy746books November 3, 2020 / 5:33 am

    I loved this one too. O’Connor’s writing is exquisite.

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