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Description - Superior Spectre by Angela Meyer

Jeff is dying. Haunted by memories and grappling with the shame of his desires, he runs away to remote Scotland with a piece of experimental tech that allows him to enter the mind of someone in the past. Instructed to only use it three times, Jeff - self-indulgent, isolated and deteriorating - ignores this advice.

In the late 1860s, Leonora lives a contented life in the Scottish Highlands, surrounded by nature, her hands and mind kept busy. Contemplating her future and the social conventions that bind her, a secret romantic friendship with the local laird is interrupted when her father sends her to stay with her aunt in Edinburgh - an intimidating, sooty city; the place where her mother perished.

But Leonora's ability to embrace her new life is shadowed by a dark presence that begins to lurk behind her eyes, and strange visions that bear no resemblance to anything she has ever seen or known...

A Superior Spectre is a highly accomplished debut novel about our capacity for curiosity, and our dangerous entitlement to it, and reminds us the scariest ghosts aren't those that go bump in the night, but those that are born and create a place for themselves in the human soul.

Buy Superior Spectre by Angela Meyer from Australia's Online Independent Bookstore, Boomerang Books.

Book Details

ISBN: 9781925183917
ISBN-10: 1925183912
Format: Paperback / softback
(128mm x 198mm x mm)
Pages: 288
Imprint: Ventura Press
Publisher: Ventura Press
Publish Date: 1-Aug-2018
Country of Publication: Australia

Other Editions - Superior Spectre by Angela Meyer

Book Reviews - Superior Spectre by Angela Meyer

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Book Review: Superior Spectre by Angela Meyer - Reviewed by (04 Sep 2018)

5 stars A Superior Spectre is the first novel by Australian publisher and author, Angela Meyer. In the Highlands of Scotland in the mid-nineteenth century, young Leonora Duncan is content with her life in her father’s small village, Chapeltown. She loves animals, learning about them from Mr Anderson, while their laird, William Wink is kind, a man disinclined to clear his tenants for more profitable crops. Her only worry is that her loving father does not seem content with this future, deciding to send her to Edinburgh in the hope of attracting a better husband.

Perhaps two hundred years later, Jeff has received an unfavourable diagnosis, one that will mean surgery and drugs. He opts out, planning to suffer his body’s natural deterioration, seeing this as what he deserves. It requires anonymity, so he fakes his ID and takes a cottage on a remote Scottish island.

Aware he will be quite debilitated, he brings an andserv to assist him. He allows himself the distraction of a piece of experimental tech-tainment: a tab that links his mind to someone in the past, in his case, Leonora Duncan. His self-indulgent rejection of the admonition to use it only three times has serious consequences for his host. Even as he becomes aware of this, he does not desist.

This is a novel of historical fiction, of time-travel, of possession, of madness and paranoia. The story is told in a dual narrative: Jeff recounts the events that brought him to the island while his reminiscences offer some explanation of his mental state, his guilt and shame; Leonora’s account gives the reader the unique perspective of sensing another’s presence inside the mind.

Meyer’s tale is original and cleverly constructed, touching on several thought-provoking topics: the sense of entitlement of certain generations; the powerful lure of curiosity; the restrictions placed on women in the nineteenth century; the treatment of mental illness. Meyer easily evokes her setting with her descriptive prose, and her characters are so well drawn that the reader is bound to feel anxiety about Leonora’s fate and repulsion at Jeff’s behaviour, as intended. This is an outstanding debut novel and it will be interesting to see what Meyer does next.

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