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Norfolk, Lawrence

entertaining dictionary history tale

(British, 1963– )

Lawrence Norfolk made an immediate impact with his debut novel, Lemprière's Dictionary (1991), an enormously inventive tale that draws together the founding of the Dutch East India Company in 1600, a massacre of children, and the compilation of the great Classical Dictionary of the title during the turmoil of the French Revolution. Norfolk's wayward approach to neglected corners of European history manages to remain both accessible and entertaining throughout, and The Pope's Rhinoceros (1996) uses a similar technique to weave a complex tale involving a repressive monastic order, African tribes, and the Vatican. Norfolk's books are entertaining historical fantasies, rooted in fact, but playfully aware of history itself as a story that we tell about the past.

Umberto Eco, Vikram Chandra  WB

Norris, Frank [next] [back] Nordhoff and Hall

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