pub: Carleton Univ. Press
reviewed by Nora Marsh
Canada has its own Jules Verne and his name is James DeMille. All right, maybe that would be a slight overstatement, but this is, nonetheless, a fine text in the romantic adventure tradition.
First published posthumously in 1888 (but probably written in the 1860's), this is an anti-utopian novel in which a group of yachtsmen come across a copper cylinder while out at sea. Inside the cylinder is the tale of Adam More, on his way home from Tasmania, who ends up being pulled through an underground river during a storm and finds himself in the land of the Kosekin.
The Kosekin are the anti-utopian element, with their distaste for wealth, daylight and life itself. A Strange Manuscript jumps back and forth between More's fantastic tale, and the four astounded yachtsmen reading his tale.
DeMille's style is simple and clear, providing a real page-turner. The anti-utopian theme is a surprising twist, and provides for lively plot development. If you're looking for a fast paced read that will give you a Jules Verne-like ride, pick up A Strange Manuscript.
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