The Last Bookaneer by Matthew Pearl
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Maybe it was just me, but this dragged quite a bit. There were parts I liked (the history of the bookends, the copyright issues, stories of good "gets") but then, in the middle of Samoa, it just stopped. There was too much time spent there, too little going on. The narrative scheme, like the first half of Wuthering Heights, is told by a participant to someone, which mostly works. There is sometimes a hint of the unreliable narrator because of that, but mostly what we get is Clover's listening to Fergins' tale and his near stalking of Feigns to get all of it.
Clover was a little problematic for me: he's a mulatto, so there's some prejudice (as when he tries to visit Feigns' residence), but beyond that it's mentioned a few times to no real effect. I also didn't quite buy the ending with him joining the merchant marines and sailing the world. For some reason, that part didn't quite blend with the earlier story.
ARC provided by publisher.