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The Geographer's Library
The Geographer's Library
Author: Jon Fasman
Item 1: An alembic is the top part of an apparatus used for distilling. This one is made of sturdy green glass, thirty-six centimeters tall, eighteen centimeters around at the widest point of its base. The top part of the vessel is narrow and fluted and turns sharply to the right; alembics are set over a still to collect and carry vapors to a...  more »

When a twelfth-century Sicilian cat burglar snatches a sack of artifacts from the king's geographer's library, the tools and talismans of transmutation-and eternal life-are soon scattered all over the world. Nine hundred years later, a young Connecticut reporter finds evidence that someone is collecting them again. In the process of investigating the suspicious death of a local professor, Paul Tomm finds the dead man's heavily fortified office stuffed with books on alchemy. The Geographer's Library entwines his contemporary reporting with a chain of ancient stories-within-the-story, tracking the last time each of the geographer's tools changed hands-some bought, some stolen, some killed for.

The Geographer's Library is an extraordinary debut, smart, stylishly written, and full of suspense. It tempts with the glitter of antiquities and hooks with a chilling plot. In this brilliant debut, competing visions of an obscure professor's life take a young reporter from a sleepy New England town to the heart of an international smuggling ring that may hold the secret to eternal life.
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ISBN-13: 9780143036623
ISBN-10: 0143036629
Publication Date: 2/28/2006
Pages: 384
  • Currently 3/5 Stars.

3 stars, based on 76 ratings
Publisher: Penguin (Non-Classics)
Book Type: Paperback
Other Versions: Hardcover, Audio CD
Reviews: Member | Amazon | Write a Review

Top Member Book Reviews

reviewed The Geographer's Library on + 6062 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 3
Author is pretty good at describing people, but not situations or places. It's sort of repetitive. "Tight" is not an adjective that could be used to describe this book.
reviewed The Geographer's Library on + 7 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 3
This book had such promise. Every other chapter describes an object with mystical qualities known to be owned by a famous ancient alchemist. The book begins with the death of a mysterious professor from Estonia in Eastern Europe. A small town reporter, initially seeking only to write an obituary, begins to find more questions than answers. Unfortunately, the author does not follow through on this exciting premise and leaves the reader very unsatisfied. If you are interested in this book, you might want to check out _Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell_ by Susanna Clarke.
reviewed The Geographer's Library on + 35 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 3
I acquired this book new in the summer of 2009, but didn't get around to reading it (since the reviews by other members were only "lukewarm") until March of 2011. Once I finally did, however, was I surprised! I liked it a lot. From the outset I was drawn by the author's marvelous writing style. Magnetic is a good word to describe it. The layout of the book with the actual story interrupted thoughout by the historical description of the various items of antiquity along with correspondence of questinable rellevance, makes it somewhat difficult to follow at first, but once the reader comes to grip with the fact that the author apparently has a purpose for doing this, it becomes quite a bit easier. Overall, I'd have to say it was well worth sticking with -- a most enjoyable story.
reviewed The Geographer's Library on + 404 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 3
Strange. Every other chapter is about a newspaper reporter trying to write an obit for a mysterious college professor. The other chapters are wild histories of fantastic mystical objects. Back and forth, back and forth... you're kept wondering why did the guy die and why are we forced to read about certain antiques. I finally gave up on the historical chapters and read about the reporter's journey. Somewhat interesting but the end was disappointing. Boo.
reviewed The Geographer's Library on + 8 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
Excellent concept very unevenly executed. The "flashback" chapters that describe the objects in the title's library are creative and fascinating; the "modern day" chapters seemed flat, probably because it was hard for me to take any interest in the main character. I just couldn't relate to him and didn't much like him, even though I wanted to, and the other characters weren't interesting enough to me to make up for him. Didn't finish this book, unfortunately. I had real high hopes for it.
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