The Amazing Journey of Humphrey Wilkes
The Amazing Journey of Humphrey Wilkes is a short and unusual work of historical fiction. Playing out in parts in the imagination of our hero where we meet vampires and witches, it transcends the conventional boundaries of the genre.
However, in this book the formula works well, and I found myself surprised at how much I enjoyed reading it. The narrator has a very engaging voice which reminded me of heroes in Eichendorff’s novels. There is a German connection and a time frame not too far from Eichendorff’s sphere of influence and so, to me, it seemed at times like a playful and very successful postmodern homage. The use of language creates an authentic feel and makes the story easy to read; the details of surgery in 1913 appeared to be well researched and were very convincing.
The darker, gothic theme that runs through the novel fits in very well with the romantic notion of adventure and fairy tales.
Somewhat unconventional, yet hugely enjoyable.