Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Erik Larson's Thunderstruck

I finished Erik Larson's Thunderstruck last night. I really wanted to like it more. A few years ago I read his The Devil in the White City and absolutely loved it. Thunderstruck is structured much in the same way: two separate but related stories come together in a great way. For me, Thunderstruck attempted to do that but just didn't quite get there for me. The two main characters didn't coincide until way too close to the end. And, I was much more interested in the murder storyline than the science storyline. If Larson could have cut down the science part and lengthened the murder part I'd probably be completely happy with this book. Overall, though, I found it interesting and somewhat enjoyable.

One part that was especially fun for me is that some of the characters frequent a wonderful London restaurant where I've been for dinner an afternoon tea: the Criterion. It's in Picadilly Circus and is one of the most beautiful restaurants I've ever visited. Movies have been filmed there and many famous Londoners had a drink at the bar. In Thunderstruck, in the chapter titled "To the Ball," it says:

Built in 1873, the Criterion combined glamour and raffishness, especially its Long Bar, for men only, where a Scotland Yard inspector might find himself in amiable conversation with a former convict. In its dining rooms painters, writers, judges, and barristers gathered for lunch and dinner. Later, after the theaters of the Strand and Shaftesbury Avenue closed for the night, the city's population of actors, comedians, and magicians thronged the "Cri" and its bar and its Grand Hall and its East Room and West.

Taking a photo of the inside of the Criterion would have caused me to embarrass myself, but here is their website which contains photos of its interior.

1 comment:

  1. I haven't read Thunderstruck though I have liked several of Erik Larsen's books. How fun that The Criterion is mentioned? I hope it was not suggested as a place to take tea!