Reader reviews and comments on The Dante Club, plus links to write your own review.

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The Dante Club

by Matthew Pearl

The Dante Club
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  • First Published:
    Feb 2003, 384 pages
    Feb 2004, 400 pages

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There are currently 9 reader reviews for The Dante Club
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Lily (08/17/13)

Tedious and Pretentious
Tedious and pretentious. The marketing of this novel was brilliant. People are afraid if they say they found it a huge bore they will be judged lacking erudition.

The plot concept is intriguing but its execution lacks tension and momentum. The characters are flat and bland. Dialogue is insipid and lethargic. This book is a mess. People tend to stand in awe of the classics, of Harvard, and Oprah, etc., and I suppose that is why we have such a difficult time saying in this instance that the emperor has no clothes.
Avid reader (04/14/07)

The most thrilling experience I had with this book was watching it fly through the air toward my garbage can. Wooden characters and no discernible plot. Great descriptions of facial hair though!
Katie (01/09/05)

Christy (09/20/04)

I've selected this book for my book club! It's got everything we enjoy -- history and mystery and more! I recommend it to anyone who enjoys a good read!
Bryce (07/07/04)

A fantastic novel. I very much enjoyed the time spent with Longellow, Holmes, and the other members of the Dante Club! The writing was crisp and tight while characters were well developed with unique (and consistent) strengths and weaknesses. The story moved quickly and ably transported the reader to historic Boston.

Admittedly, it takes a while to become fully immersed in Pearl's world. That said, once done, there is no going back. In fact, Pearl's book, and ultimately Dante's Divine Commedia, stay with you.

I had not received much exposure to Dante prior to reading the novel, but had no difficulty staying with the story. Most importantly, I became inspired to read Dante for myself just to see how true Pearl stayed to the master.

Again, a wonderful book by a very promising author.
EvylWykdMe (04/24/04)

I very much enjoyed Matthew Pearl's novel, The Dante Club. It combines several elements of various different types of novels I enjoy reading: mystery, horror, history and surprisingly, romance.

Mr. Pearl's treatment of historical fact intertwined with entertaining fiction made for an interesting read. I will admit that the beginning of the novel seemed "leisurely," but soon took on the speed of a bullet train. I was intrigued and eager to learn the identity of the killer. I was surprised by the revelation and more than pleased that I was not able to guess the identity before it was revealed in the story.

I do not believe that one must be aware of or educated about Dante Alighieri in order to enjoy this novel. In fact, reading this novel made me more eager to read my copy of the Indiana Critical Review version of Dante's Inferno, which I had purchased but not read, long before I acquired Mr. Pearl's work.

The Dante Club is an entertaining novel that will extract a visceral reaction from the reader whether one has an interest in Dante, or not. Do not forget, forewarned is forearmed..."words can bleed."
Anonymous (04/20/04)

I found it quite difficult getting into the book. The graphic description on the state of the dead bodies was sickening. Another point I wish to make is that I have never read Dante and therefore found it difficult to understand much of the references to his work. I feel the book was written for academics in the field of literature and poetry, and not directed to the general public with an inerest in mystery. I feel that some of the language in the book takes for granted that the reader has read Dante or at least has some knowledge of his works. If the book is aimed at interesting the general public about the literary core of the book (Dante), is it not the author's place to address this?
Robert Adam (02/27/04)

So bad it made me cross. I came to the novel knowing very little about Dante's Divine Comedy and finished it having learned very little more. The author who from the glowing testimonies on the jacket is clearly a very gifted academic, has no real gift for fiction. The characters in the novel are entirely one dimensional. The narrative is delivered in mock Victorian. I can understand why the dialogue might be rendered this way but the narrative style merely becomes irritating. Some of the descriptive imagery is snort inducingly bad; for example when one of the characters is pulled out of a frozen lake he alledgedly flaps on the ice like a fish!!! Overall I couldn't have cared less who the killer was which is never a good sign in a whodunnit. The only saving grace is that Dante is clearly the authors thing and he has therefore clearly shot his bolt.
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