12.18.2006

HH Com 159

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Volume three of Professor Simon Putnam's four-part biography of Igor Vasilikov, a major literary figure who died a mysterious death, is heading merrily down the path of pedantry—until Moreland University's reopening of the Vasilikov archives turns up the legendary lost Vasilikov manuscript. Now everyone wants a piece of Vasilikov, including Putnam's boss, Antonin Feodorov, who's put all of his other projects—intimidating junior scholars, raising his prodigy daughter, and firing off invectives about twelfth-century epic poems—on hiatus until he can produce the definitive annotated version of Vasilikov's
last masterpiece.

But Putnam begins to suspect that Vasilikov's novel, about the forgery of a disputed twelfth-century manuscript on a modern college campus, may contain clues about his death-by-Bentley twenty years before. The only trouble is that Feodorov, Vasilikov's literary executor, isn't letting the novel out of his gingerbread citadel of a faculty residence. Putnam's only shot at solving the literary mystery of the century before his rival now lies with Feodorov's daughter and her only friend, an unsophisticated freshman whom Putnam uses to smuggle copies of the manuscript away from Feodorov. Putnam's investigation leads him to a murky medieval forgery, a relationship that eerily echoes the subject of Vasilikov's most scandalous novel, and to someone who's done much worse than forge a manuscript.

A 98,000-word literary mystery, THE IGOR TALE masquerades as Simon Putnam's biography of Vasilikov—a biography that degenerates into an exploration of the present at a university where lives are, quite literally, ruined by literature.

The DaVinci Code meets The Name of the Rose.

You need to tighten this up a LOT: Igor Vasilikov's lost manuscript turns up just in time to thwart Simon Putnam's planned four volume definitive biography of the great man. Yadda yadda yadda.

You're also going to have something more than a missing manuscript and murder to catch my interest.

11 comments:

Xiqay said...

[quote ="author"]A 98,000-word literary mystery, THE IGOR TALE masquerades as Simon Putnam's biography of Vasilikov—a biography that degenerates into an exploration of the present at a university where lives are, quite literally, ruined by literature.[/quote]

Huh? You're telling us that what you wrote masquerades? that it degenerates? Fancy verbs, but not ones I'd want applied to my writing.

This story is not my cup of tea, but good luck.

Anonymous said...

It sounds more like Pale Fire than The Da Vinci Code to me: a work that "masquerades" as academic to make fun of academia. With a mystery thrown in, this sounds pretty good. I'd read it. But is this really something for the Mystery section, or is it literary with mystery elements? If the form is really that important, I'm thinking literary.

HawkOwl said...

See, I thought The Name of the Rose meets Da Vinci Code was called Foucault's Pendulum. Which, oddly, predates Da Vinci by a good fifteen years.

As to the hook, I'm speechless, but not in a "that was amazing" or in a "that was fracked up" way. More a "I'm looking at you blankly because I have no idea what you just said" kind of way. I hope you rock it, though. There's much to be said about lives being ruined by literature. (No, really. I'm not being sarcastic.)

Anonymous said...

I would definitely read this. Sounds great! But the title--no no no. Too much a reference to Frankenstein, which this doesn't match in tone or plot at all. (I know Igor is a legitimate name, but without a last name to balance it, Frankenstein is the overwhelming reference.) Also the format The ____ Tale is boring, with or without the Igor. I'm betting it's an echo of one of the character's book titles, but, still, I wouldn't pick it up in a store.

Anonymous said...

You've got a good writing style. I loved "gingerbread citadel". Just that would make me want to read the book.

Elfje

December Quinn said...

I think it sounds interesting. The medieval manuscript angle always gets me.

LPA said...

Maybe it's just because I'm involved in academia, but this plot intrigued me. I hope it's at least somewhat satirical, though -- the first couple of paragraphs gave me that impression.

Anonymous said...

Wait a sec. So you requested the lesbian road novel and not this? Gingerbread citadel of a faculty residence? Lives ruined by literature? This was both well-written and intriguing.

Okay, whatever. To each her own.

Good luck, writer. I'd read it.

Crys said...

this reminds me of that Gwynneth Paltrow movie, Possession, which, btw and for what it's worth, i liked quite a lot.

i actually think this is interesting and i do think i'd read it, but i agree with another poster who mentioned not liking the title. bad bad bad.

shannon said...

It's no Possession, that's for sure.

I found the writing a bit clunky, and some passages I had to do a double take 'cause I'd read them wrong the first time, like:

"before his rival now lies with Feodorov's daughter and her only friend"

I read as meaning his rival slept with his own daughter AND her friend (take out "now" and that's what it says)! Which threw me, as it didn't seem to be a book about incest. I know, you meant the protagonist makes use of his rival's daughter and her friend in order to get the manuscript out of her dad's house, but the wording could be better.

Anonymous said...

This kind of reminds me of that big fall book, "Special Topics in Calamity Physics." That was a hit, and I bet this would be, too. I didn't have much trouble understanding this submission, including that sentence that shannon pointed to (seems straightforward--"his only hope lies...") and I thought the style was quirky and original. I liked 'heading merrily down the path of pedantry.' I honestly don't know why Her Snarkypuss didn't like this one. Like the other guy said: To each his own.