“Be warned. This book has no literary merit whatsoever. It is a lurid piece of nonsense… I doubt you’ll believe a word of it.”
With an intro like that, how could one resist continuing onward into the eerie realm of Jonathan Barnes’ The Somnambulist?
After that it starts getting weird.
The Somnambulist creeps through Victorian England, a vice-ridden setting that is currently all the rage in fiction. Barnes, however, is not content to stop with laudanum, opium dens, prostitution and murder. He throws in mutants, misfits, far-fetched conspiracies, a cult, a carnival, and a touch of Gothic horror; all topped off with pure evil in a schoolboy uniform. The author builds on a fragile foundation: The plot is ridiculous and the narrator predictable. The entire novel would collapse if it wasn’t such a good time (in a ‘just plain wrong’ way): Sometimes it’s funny, sometimes it’s brutal, it’s always weird, and it never plays fair. Perhaps The Somnambulist is closer to real life than it first appears…