Thursday, April 22, 2010

The Classics Circuit: Alexandre Dumas

The Black Tulip
Alexandre Dumas

I must admit, I was a little daunted by Dumas. I chose The Black Tulip solely based on its length (it's the shortest of his novels), and when I read the book was about growing flowers, I didn't get my hopes up.

The novel begins as two prominent Dutchmen are unjustly executed, the victims of political intrigue. Their deaths, graphic and unsettling, are the first indication of the rollercoaster that is The Black Tulip.

We move from this violent scene to the quiet suburbs, to Cornelius Van Baerle, a rich man who loves nothing but tulips. Van Baerle is seeking to create the elusive "Black Tulip," which many believe is impossible.

Unfortunately for Corn, his neighbor Boxtel hates him. HATES. There's teeth gnashing and all. Boxtel is also in love with tulips, so of course he is envious of Corn's success with the ladies tulips.

Jeez. TWO men in love with tulips?

my milkshake brings all the boys to the yard

So Boxtel sets out to destroy Corn, and then MORE political intrigue happens and then before you know it Corn's in love with NOT ONLY tulips but now also Rosa, the daughter of his jailer. Escándalo!

Oh, and did I mention that the person to first create the Black Tulip will receive a Very Large Sum as a prize? The race to grow the tulip is on! Now throw in a few dazzling fight scenes and some hysterical dialogue, and you've got The Black Tulip.

This short novel was such fun to read. As I got wrapped up in the story, I even began to read a few chapters online while I was at work. The pacing is fast, and I often couldn't wait to read more. Many thanks to the Classics Circuit for the Dumas tour -- I'm not sure I ever would have read this without the tour, and that would have been a shame indeed!

In a nutshell: Fun, funny, and fantastical - a pleasant surprise!

Bibliolatry Scale: 5 out of 6 stars

FTCBS: Personal copy; also online


Amanda said...

I ended up dropping the Dumas circuit (too many obligations right now) but this is the book I had planned to read for it. I'm glad it's good!

Hannah Stoneham said...

Hmmm - lovely cover. This sounds intesting, thank you indeed for posting - I have never read any Dumas. Speaking of big books, I am wading my way through Parade's End by Ford Madox Ford at the moment - but I have found there that facing the big book challenge can be worth it

Excellent post, thanks for sharing


Missy said...

I have followed your blog for awhile now. It's one of my favorites thanks to your highly entertaining sense of humor. Your tulip caption was so hilarious, I just had to leave a comment. Thanks for the great entertainment and for always making my TBR list longer.


Bibliolatrist said...

Thank you, Missy! (Although I feel your pain about the ever-growing TBR list...sorry! :)

Aimee said...

Heehee - and that cover is TO DIE FOR. luxe!

Melody said...

Thanks for commenting on my blog! I've added your link onto my Google Reader. :)

This book sounds interesting. I'll have to check it out.

PS: I love tulips!!