Wednesday, May 23, 2007

In the Hand of Dante by Nick Tosches


"Deep in a secret chamber of a Vatican library, a casket is opened for the first time in many hundreds of years. Inside is the rarest and most valuable art object ever discovered: the manuscript of The Divine Comedy, written in Dante's own hand. The manuscript makes its way from the priest to a mob boss in New York City, where a writer named Nick Tosches, near death and ready for anything, gets a phone call from a friend-there's a manuscript that needs authentication. For this writer, the temptation is too great; he steals the manuscript in a last chance bid to have it all. As this dark and twisted journey unfolds, so too does a parallel tale: the odyssey of Dante himself, a man trying to weave a poem that contains the sum of the world's wisdom and the very breath of the divine. IN THE HAND OF DANTE is a work of astounding audacity and beauty. It combines Tosches's vast scholarship about The Divine Comedy, Dante Alleghieri, and the Middle Ages with an equally vast and intimate knowledge of the lowest murdering scum of New York's ugliest streets. This is the masterwork that Nick Tosches has been building toward for years."

My thoughts:

I've been postponing this blog entry because I wasn't sure what I wanted to say. First, this is a compelling and beautifully written book, especially in the passages concerning Dante's conversations with a rabbi about religion and poetry. The first couple chapters are hard to get through - the characters aren't very likable, but once the manuscript is found, the book picks up pace nicely.

Date read: 5/17/2007
Book #: 39
Rating: 3* = good
Genre: Fiction

ISBN-10: 0316735647
ISBN-13: 978-0316735643
Publisher: Back Bay Books
Year: 2003
# of Pages: 384
Binding: Paperback

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