Stone's Fall (Magill's Literary Annual 2010)
Iain Pears’s Stone’s Fall is a puzzle that may be likened to a set of Chinese boxes or Russian dolls. It consists of three interconnected tales with three distinct narrators. Each successive tale is nested within the one before it and takes place during an earlier time in the life of a British businessman named John Stone. Each addition to his story challenges readers’ previous impressions and uncovers more information about Stone’s rise to great heights in the power structure of Europe before World War Iheights from which he inevitably and fatally falls.
Over the last decade, Pears has risen to heights of his own. With An Instance of the Finger Post (1998), he won recognition as an author of detective fiction as cerebral as that of Umberto Eco, to whom he is often compared. He widened the historical sweep of his fiction considerably with The Dream of Scipio (2002) and sharpened its focus with The Portrait (2006). Stone’s Fall, though not the longest of Pears’s novels, is the one that covers the broadest social and geographical range. Whereas the earlier mysteries focused on science, philosophy, or art, the new novel takes on the structure of modern banking and finance, as well as the emergence of the arms race among western European powers. Adding to the intrigue are side excursions into such areas as socialism, spiritualism, and newspaper management. Readers learn about these topics along with the...
(The entire section is 1892 words.)
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Bibliography (Magill's Literary Annual 2010)
Booklist 105, no. 17 (May 1, 2009): 33.
The Guardian, May 9, 2009, p. 10.
Kirkus Reviews 77, no. 7 (April 1, 2009): 344.
Library Journal 134, no. 6 (April 1, 2009): 72.
Los Angeles Times, May 9, 2009, p. D4.
The New York Times Book Review, June 7, 2009, p. 12.
The Sunday Times (London), May 10, 2009, p. 47.
The Times Literary Supplement, May 15, 2009, p. 20.
The Washington Post, May 27, 2009, p. C4.
(The entire section is 47 words.)