Friday, March 27, 2009

Review: Inamorata by Joseph Gangemi

Does this book really exist? I can't find it through the publisher, fewer than 100 people have it listed on LibraryThing, the website for the author listed inside the book is nonexistent, you can only get it through Amazon from their authorized sellers and then only in paperback and for a penny, and googling is fruitless. It was only published in 2005! And all that's a pain, because I want someone to discuss it with! What's the deal?

Warning: very minor spoilers may follow.

Inamorata is a Gothic horror/mystery/romance/something, but set in the 1920s during the height of the Spiritualism fad. The viewpoint character is one Martin Finch, a college student who becomes part of a study financed by the Scientific American which offers a prize of $5,000 dollars to anyone who can prove "psychic phenomena" to the satisfaction of the board of judges. Martin's job is to help prove the candidates to be tricksters and does so with great ingenuity, until they discover Mina Crawley, a medium with unexplainable talents. Martin quickly becomes fascinated with her.

The investigation, and "Margery" as she was called in the papers, were both real. Gangemi goes deeper into the story, exploring the possibilities and the people involved to great dramatic effect. A word of warning: it's got some upsetting and graphic content, including a graphic surgical operation, implied abuse, drug use, and "Lets see how outraged we can get Fate's feminist sensibilities" content.

It was very upsetting. Most of the characters were too realistic for me to like, except the lawyer near the end of the book. (You'll know him when you see him.) I considered setting it down several times, but I HAD to know how it was going to end! I HAD to know what was going on!

I never found out. It's the MOTHER of all ambiguous endings. It seems like the answer is just beyond my fingertips... there were so many hints, so many clues, but I can't put them together.

If you like the Gothic feel, historical fiction/romance, ghosts, you'd probably like this one as long as you don't mind the upsetting parts and the ambiguity. If it sounds interesting, please read it and then come tell me your theory!

The one thing I really wanted to read when I finished this... besides a full explanation of what happened... was a real history of spiritualism or study of it in that time period. Here are a few, and here's a list of related books.
Buy Inamorata

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