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The London Satyr

Lyceum Theatre has been sucked into a shadowy demi monde which exists beneath the surface of civilized society It is a world of pornographers and prostitutes corralled under the sinister leadership of master photographer and manipulator Marlow to whom Webster illicitly provides theatrical costumes for pornographic shoots But knowledge of this enterprise has somehow reached the Lyceum's upright theatre manager Bram Stoker who suspects Webster's involvement As the net appears to tighten around Marlow an At the heart of the narrator's situation is a commonplace of the times the loss of a child to illness Yet the devastation for the parents is not diminished by that ordinariness Charles Webster a photographer employed at the Lyceum theatre to keep record of costumes has become displaced in his own home as his wife encouraged by their obnoxious surviving daughter develops her talents as a medium guided in the spirit world by the departed eight year old Caroline Their new servant Isobel seeks to pursue her own tawdry ambitions by manipulating his growing domestic isolation Webster has become peripherally involved in the illegal operations of Marlow who is the 'London Satyr' Webster arranges 'loan' of costumes for his enterprise which is the production of pornographic photographs Marlow has an entourage and is highly organised When a client an aristocrat is arrested for strangling a twelve year old prostitute there is moral outrage throughout London at the crime The girl has been photographed by Marlow indeed she had the value of looking younger than she was There is no other consideration in this business than catering for whatever tastes will turn a profit and eually no greater surety than that Marlow will ensure his own escape when a pursuit ensues There are many uncertainties and anxieties for Webster though but even his confrontation with the moral avenger Wheeler is moderated by the fact that both men have lost daughters The eventual conclusion is suitably indeterminate I like the way the details of the late Victorian setting are never intrusive nothing is remarked on which is normal to the narrator yet scenes are always sufficiently set Stylish and engrossing

free download The London Satyr

D his cohorts a member of the aristocracy is accused of killing a child prostitute and public outrage sweeps the capital It is the worst possible time for Webster's wife to announce she is to become a professional medium The London Satyr is a brilliant summoning of the last decade of Victorian England At a time when public morality has never been extreme nor superstition prevalent below the surface swirls a fetid and ever uickening current of perversity and exploitation From the Trade Paperback edition I really wanted to like this novel as I love anything set in the Victorian era but I found it disappointing than anything There are just too many books about Victorian mediums and I've also seen the develeopment and use of photography dealt with in a immediate and interesting wayI felt that the book was still getting going right till the end and I kept waiting for it take flight to no avail The protagonist was just too passive for me always on the edge of events and never seeming to be changed by themMay be of interest to fellow lovers of the Victorian setting but just too passive and anaemic for my tastes

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The astonishing new historical novel from one of the UK's most talented literary writers It is the summer of 1891 and London is simmering under an oppressive heatwave The air is thick with tension and sexual repression But another wave is about to rock the capital one of morality as Oliver Wheeler and the puritans of his London Vigilance Committee seek out perversion and aberrant behaviour in all its forms Charles Webster an impoverished photographer working for famed actor manager Henry Irving at the I am a recent convert to Robert Edric and picked this one out because he was the author It is the story of London theatre world in the late 1800s where a photographer who works in the theatre is also involved in providing photos to dubious outlets for pornographic purposes There is potential here for a really interesting novel but I found it difficult to care about any of the characters and finally gave up about a third of the way After this I read another Edric which ws superb


About the Author: Robert Edric

Robert Edric b is the pseudonym of Gary Edric Armitage a British novelist born in Sheffield.



10 thoughts on “The London Satyr

  1. says:

    I had to read this for my book group I set out with a will wondering why I hadn't before come across this author of 20 books who'd received such glowing reviews from the broadsheets But such action as there is takes place elsewhere while the unlikeable protagonist has interminable conversations with unlikeable people Gradually I lost hope that he would do anything other than inconclusively analyse every last little thing said to him and make unspoken judgements of his family From page 170 I began to speed read He didn't and nothing happened A minor annoyance is the author's habit of supplying three words or phrases where one would do suffice be enough Perhaps some of Robert Edric's novels are better than this but I won't be reading another


  2. says:

    An interesting and thoughtful study of middle class life in late Victorian London Webster the official Lyceum photographer has a profitable sideline in loaning costumes to an early photographic pornographer This is tricky enough but becomes so at a frightening rate Added to this is a complicated home life with an over opinionated daughter and a wife who may or may not have powers All in all an engrossing study of the age from a uniue angle


  3. says:

    I am a recent convert to Robert Edric and picked this one out because he was the author It is the story of London theatre world in the late 1800s where a photographer who works in the theatre is also involved in providing photos to dubious outlets for pornographic purposes There is potential here for a really interesting novel but I found it difficult to care about any of the characters and finally gave up about a third of the way After this I read another Edric which ws superb


  4. says:

    I've always thought of Robert Edric as the poor man's Barry Unsworth He has moved between historical periods and genres throughout his careeryet he never uite gets the most out of anything despite his years of experience There is a blandness to his style and a tin ear for the figurative that here might be attributable to his first person narrator's shortcomings but is so prevalent elsewhere in his work that I doubt it I'm sure I read in one of his books that something was 'etiolated as if starved of light' Etiolated thenTo business This novel has all the ingredients reuired to be fascinating and if it had been cooked up with someone prepared to throw in chilli and spices it might have been marvellous However being a self consciously 'literary' writer who clearly read too much Henry James when at an impressionable age Edric delights in not giving the public what they want Characterisations are impressionistic and the dialogue is pregnant with unspoken implication You need to be John Le Carre to bring that off and Edric isn't John Le Carre What the novel does offer is a reaction against the dense realism of something like The Crimson Petal and the White in which there's an obsession with including everything discovered in the course of research that goes to the detriment of the whole Here we see Bram Stoker as a busybody underling of Henry Irving we know he will eventually write Dracula but the narrator does not and that's uite fun Some writers would have belaboured us with the details of late Victorian photographic technology when their narrator was a photographer but Edric is sensible enough to avoid characters telling each other things they already know simply to make the reader's life easier I rather appreciated this The sketched in street scenes were also effective It is also nice to see a novel that moves away from being wholly self contained By that I mean that these characters had lives before the story begins and lives that will continue after it ends The events which occur in the course of the narrative are not therefore crudely causal prompts for action However so low key is the approach that a fair bit of narrative energy is lost as a conseuence of such tacticsIn all then not a bad book by any means but though I hate to say it it would be better as a film I sometimes felt that I was reading one of those 'novelisations' of a film script and also that it would reuire good actors to bring the dialogue to life 'If you must' he said looking at his cuffs 'Then I must' I said I knew at once that I had said too much 'A great deal perhaps everything may depend upon it of course' he went on having seemingly ignored my rashness 'It always has If one were to' His voice died away but its implications hung in the air like the stale smoke from his cigarThe London Satyr has whole chapters of such dialogue and they do get increasingly irritating That's a shame because if its materials had been deployed by someone who can really animate the past and who isn't scared to tell a story it would have been a very good novel As it is it's unlikely to uicken any pulses And was the term 'floorshow' in use in 1891 I wonder?


  5. says:

    This novel is centered around an impoverished photographer in 1981 London who is sucked into a less than civalized world of pornographers and prostitutes within a colourful theatre backdrop What exsists beneath the surface of sophisticated society comes as an overwhelming experiance to both the main character and the reader in all its vividly illicit and stark realism of the age It is a sharply written tale of the hardships poverty and understandings of life and 'how the other half work and live' within an age of sexual repression and those who are eager to go in search of peversion and aberrant behaviour in every form As the saying goes 'all that glitters is not gold' applies with somewhat ironic moments The atmosphere is starkly realistic and potent and a moment within time that i lost myself within due to the engrossing storyline So beautifully desciptive and brilliantly real i found myself able to clearly picture the era and its surroundings It was a character driven tale full of action and suspense where you end up sitting on the edge of your seat unsure of what is going to happen next Temptation longing and desire is cleaverly entwined within an intreguing plot and one that is thoroughly engaging This novel was esuisitly well written and without being 'over the top' in regards to explicit or distatefull description that balance between showing the reader what it was like and overdoing it was just perfectly done Anyone who apreciates really meaningful and classy fiction with a twist will apsolutely love Robert Edric's new book that is a highly enjoyable and interesting read Out of all of Edric's previous works this one by far stands out by its origionality uniueness and readability that is a masterful debut expressing literary skill and cleaver genious


  6. says:

    At the heart of the narrator's situation is a commonplace of the times the loss of a child to illness Yet the devastation for the parents is not diminished by that ordinariness Charles Webster a photographer employed at the Lyceum theatre to keep record of costumes has become displaced in his own home as his wife encouraged by their obnoxious surviving daughter develops her talents as a medium guided in the spirit world by the departed eight year old Caroline Their new servant Isobel seeks to pursue her own tawdry ambitions by manipulating his growing domestic isolation Webster has become peripherally involved in the illegal operations of Marlow who is the 'London Satyr' Webster arranges 'loan' of costumes for his enterprise which is the production of pornographic photographs Marlow has an entourage and is highly organised When a client an aristocrat is arrested for strangling a twelve year old prostitute there is moral outrage throughout London at the crime The girl has been photographed by Marlow indeed she had the value of looking younger than she was There is no other consideration in this business than catering for whatever tastes will turn a profit and eually no greater surety than that Marlow will ensure his own escape when a pursuit ensues There are many uncertainties and anxieties for Webster though but even his confrontation with the moral avenger Wheeler is moderated by the fact that both men have lost daughters The eventual conclusion is suitably indeterminate I like the way the details of the late Victorian setting are never intrusive nothing is remarked on which is normal to the narrator yet scenes are always sufficiently set Stylish and engrossing


  7. says:

    C2011 Thanks to the publisher for sending this book The author has made his protagonist a passive observer standing on the periphery of both his domestic and professional life eg “I saw the affection between them in every small transaction” This has the effect of putting the reader at arms length which I am not sure works terribly well Mr Edric certainly uses words and phrases effectively but the book is not exactly cluttered with dialogue and I am not sure whether there was ultimately an ending Rather like the definition of satyr in the book itself; “But still a creature Still something of malicious intent sexual intent something to be feared and avoided” Perhaps it was too clever for me and perhaps I am at a stage now where I expect from a book For a historical novel not many historical descriptions with the exception of the transport and photographical asides The details of the navigation through the London streets and the Lyceum theatre itself were excellent Another inadvertent comment by the observer but could have been the way I felt about the book itself towards the end “I had only been awake half an hour and already I felt exhausted by my small defeats” Ultimately I found the story to be depressing and for that reason would not recommend to the normal crew FWFTB London sexual morality aberrant impoverished FCN Charles Webster “Rogue star”; Marlow “master manipulator”; Pearl “as mysterious and as unreachable a figure to me as Marlow himself remained”; Alice; Isobel


  8. says:

    Although this novel deals with very interesting subject matter is set in a very murky Victorian London and includes Bram Stoker Henry Irving and Ellen Terry it does not fulfill its potential I found Charles Webster the main character hard to like but perhaps this was a device of Edrics as Webster had recently lost his young daughter Caroline and perhaps he remains in a dissociative state Unfortunately Myself the reader also felt dissociated whilst reading this novel Edric has as his backdrop the murky streets of Victorian London in particular the area around The Lyceum Theatre and Shaftesbury Avenue but the characters he places against this backdrop are irritatingly shadowy and evasive I want to know about the mysterious Marlowe the pornographer to learn of Bram Stoker's involvement in the elite male circles with rather specialist tastes to understand the coldness and distance between Webster and his wife Alicia who is in the process of becoming a medium As I write this little review I find myself suddenly struck by the thought that all of this is plot device from Edric and that he is portraying the cold distanced world of the bereaved and the effect bereavement has on individuals and relationships and that he is further setting this alongside the alienating effect of pornography and prostitution If this is the case then it is an interesting comparison but it does not change my overall feeling about the book Glad to have finished this one


  9. says:

    I really wanted to like this novel as I love anything set in the Victorian era but I found it disappointing than anything There are just too many books about Victorian mediums and I've also seen the develeopment and use of photography dealt with in a immediate and interesting wayI felt that the book was still getting going right till the end and I kept waiting for it take flight to no avail The protagonist was just too passive for me always on the edge of events and never seeming to be changed by themMay be of interest to fellow lovers of the Victorian setting but just too passive and anaemic for my tastes


  10. says:

    I found this book to be a huge disappointment Edric creates fascinating characters but nothing happens Seriouslythe entire book consists primarily of self conscious conversations which supposedly teem with all sorts of unspoken meaning but which change nothingIn addition for me at least the novel failed to evoke the Victorian period in any real way The protagonist could have been living pretty much anywhere at any time Rarely do I fault an author for providing too little description but in this case I think Edric needed sensory detail to make his chosen setting concrete


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