“The Latinist” by Mark Prins
The world of academia is a common backdrop for all sorts of literature. Mark Prins’ debut “The Latinist” is certain to add to that august list.
Often ivy-covered exterior walls mask poison-ivy behavior within. Intrigue, romance, in-fighting, back-biting are some of the more benign behaviors exhibited by the genus academic. Add on an emphasis on ancient languages, cultures, and civilizations and you have the toxic brew that Prins provides in all its cringing gory.
A pivotal point in “The Latinist” involves maneuvering stones. Prins generally leaves no stone unturned. However, there were times that I would have wished he had done more “showing” than “telling”, especially during unimportant, trivial asides. Fortunately, the main storyline sustains interest throughout.
There is a lot to learn for those so-inclined: language, literature, culture, misogyny, arts, archeology, academia. At first glance it may seem intimidating, but it shouldn’t be. No prior knowledge is required, in fact “facts” may be not what we initially learned. Plus tidbits picked up during the reading may prove useful in future crosswords, trivia contests, or serious discussions about the not-so-long-ago past and its impact on the present.
“The Latinist” is bound to appeal to a wide range of readers. It will be interesting to follow its trajectory, as well as Prins’ future endeavors.
Thank you to W. W. Norton and NetGalley for the eARC.