I saw a review on Goodreads that summed up this book by saying it's about a whiny character doing research. Yep. That's exactly what it is. Even though I wanted to like The Book of Speculation, I had to force myself through Simon's chapters, which mostly consisted of him making phone calls to other librarians, asking them to look up names for him. The other half of the story -- the story set in the past, which Simon's researching -- is more interesting, but not enough to carry the book.
In short, it has some intriguing ideas, but it's a pretty boring read.
I actually really liked this book, but I tend to like books with this formula. The main character finds an old diary and it unlocks secrets to the past. This time the main character is a male librarian, and not a female. The diary is a book sent to him by a stranger.
Not only is his house decaying or eroding, and falling into the sea, so is his life. His sister Enola is in danger of family curse, where the women in the family drown themselves on July 24th, only days away.
The main character feels like he is running against time to stop fate and break a curse. The back story goes back generations, and involve, a wild wolf boy, a tarot card reader, a mermaid, and so much more.
I really enjoyed the book, but put it off due some negative or MEH reviews. I found the book engaging from the beginning. I would highly recommend it.
I was kind of mesmerized reading this book about traveling carnivals, mermaids, tarot cards, horseshoe crabs, and water, water, water. The book alternates between the present and the late 1700's. In the present, the book's protagonist, Simon, received an unsolicited gift in the mail...an old journal detailing the daily records of a traveling carnival and sideshow in the late 18th century. As Simon tries to decipher the hidden meanings in the journal, the book alternates with the story of the carnival. Simon's mother was a performer in a carnival who could hold her breath up to 10 minutes but for some reason, she drowned on a July 24th...was it an accident or suicide? Simon discovers from the journal that he and his family are descended from a line of "mermaids" who worked in carnivals and who all seem to drown on the same date -- July 24th. So what is going on here? Simon becomes concerned because his sister also works in a carnival and July 24th is approaching again. And how does this all relate to an old set of tarot cards? And how does the person who sent the journal and Simon's neighbor, Frank, fit into Simon's history? Overall, I enjoyed this one as Simon tried to piece together the past and how it relates to the present and future.
Finished this one, a first novel for her. Haven't yet decided what I think. The author did a very nice job moving back and forth between the present and the past. There were two romances, a love triangle and a curse affecting the family. Supposedly the curse was attached to a pack of tarot cards passed from mother to daughter over the years. I had a bit of trouble with that. All the women drowned on July 24. I did finish it but I finish most books I read. However, I almost dropped at its midpoint. I know other readers really enjoyed it so each reader will have to decide what he/she thinks.