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The Invention of Dr Cake

by Andrew Motion

Be ready for mindgames! The identity of a Victorian doctor is the mystery at the heart of a book which debates weighty issues: the importance of poetry, the search for fulfillment, the need to justify one's existence. But you can also expect to be moved by its portrayal of a man dying under the weight of a painful secret.

Extract

The articles I had read, the bustle of their engagement with the world, had led me to anticipate a very active and practical man. The one who lay before me, notwithstanding the evidence of his illness, was a sensualist. But it was not only the contrast between my anticipation and the reality which impressed me. It was - how shall I put it? It was the sense of his life within the world. He seemed hidden, content with obscurity, yet at the same time linked to larger issues and longer stretches of time. In a nutshell, he appeared more than himself - and willing to share that largeness of spirit immediately with me who had come to him as a stranger.

Parallels

Shakespeare's Dark Lady by Anthony Burgess
Hawksmoor by Peter Ackroyd
 

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