Thursday, February 19, 2009

The Underground Man by Mick Jackson (22/81)

Category: Authors that are New to Me

This book is the story of an eccentric Duke, loosely based on the real life fifth Duke of Portland William John Cavendish Bentinck-Scott. Incredibly introverted, he had enough money to indulge his obsessions, most famously commissioning a series of tunnels underneath his estate that allowed him to move around with minimal contact with the outside population.

The story is mainly told through a series of the Duke's diary entries, so for most of the book we see things through the Duke's eyes. Despite the humour of the Duke's crazy schemes and wild ideas. the book is tinged with sadness as you can feel the Duke's isolation and descent into madness. His diary entries are also interspersed with accounts from servants and locals who came into contact with the Duke, and this presents a more troubled pictured.

This was a strange book. I enjoyed it in parts, but somehow felt that it benefit from re-reading so that I fully appreciate it.


Cindy B said...

It sounds like an interesting read. I'd never heard of either the Duke or the author before.

SandDancer said...

I hadn't heard of the Duke before either. This was the author's first book, he's apparently a film-maker.