To Be Announced…
Reviews and Blurbs:
“Ingenious revision…the novel is a pleasure…a worthy companion to its predecessor. It’s rich in gloomy, moody atmosphere (Levine’s London has a brutal steampunk quality), and its narrator’s plight is genuinely poignant.” — The New York Times
“Riveting ‘Hyde’ renders evil in shades of gray…in his spellbinding first novel [Levine] offers many surprises and rich, often intoxicating prose. It’s a fascinating read.” — The Washington Post
“Daniel Levine’s intelligent and brutal first novel, Hyde, puts a fresh spin on the well-worn material.” –The Columbus Dispatch
“Levine’s account is a masterpiece of hallucination; his narrator is feverish, righteous, intense. The author knows what to invent and what to leave to the master. And about that confession: Hyde doesn’t open it, and neither does Levine. He leaves it to Stevenson, to whom he is faithful with his prose. The shockers may be born of this century, but this chilling new version is a remarkably good fit with the original horror classic.” — Miami Herald
“Levine’s evocation of Victorian England is marvelously authentic, and his skill at grounding his narrative in arresting descriptive images is masterful (of the haggard, emotionally troubled Jekyll, he writes, ‘He looked as if he’d survived an Arctic winter locked within a ship frozen fast in the wastes’).” — Publishers Weekly, boxed and starred
“An elegantly woven retelling…The story is deeply psychological and unapologetically dark.” — Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine
“We realize…how little Stevenson really explored Edward Hyde, how Hyde was a function of the narrative, an idea but not a fleshed-out man. Giving him flesh and humanity, Levine makes him a kind of tragic hero and gives the original version an added dramatic and emotional dimension. A fascinating companion piece to a classic story.” — Booklist
“Levine’s masterful in his surrealistic observations of Hyde subsuming Jekyll…Cleverly imagined and sophisticated in execution…” – Kirkus
“The mind of Hyde is as dark and twisted and alluring as the night-cloaked streets of 19th century London, and this book is as much a fascinating psychological query as it is a gripping narrative.”—Benjamin Percy, author of Red Moon
“Daniel Levine locates the strange beneath the familiar in this intricately imagined, meticulously executed debut. You may think you know Dr. Jekyll, but this Hyde is a different beast altogether.”—Jon Clinch, author of Finn
“This rich, allusive, erudite novel is a welcome reminder of what a tour de force really is.”—David Leavitt, author of The Indian Clerk
“Mr. Levine’s book is more fun than–and related to, though the elucidation of the comparison is tedious and I’d prefer we skip it–shooting squirrels.” — Padgett Powell, author of The Interrogative Mood
“Prepare to be seduced by the author’s devilry! We go back to Victorian times to find a very postmodern whodunnit. Visceral prose, atmosphere you could choke on, characters who seem to be at your very shoulder. (My sole regret after spending several hours inside Daniel Levine’s highly literate thriller is that I didn’t think of Hyde for myself.)”—Ronald Frame, author of Havisham
“A gloriously disturbing portrait of man’s animal nature ascendant, Hyde brings into the light the various horrors still hidden in the dark heart of Stevenson’s classic tale of monstrosity and addiction. It’s Daniel Levine’s extraordinary achievement to give voice to a creature capable of indulging every impulse of transgression, while driving its higher self to damnation. Florid, devious and ingenious, Hyde is a blazing triumph of the gothic imagination.”—Patrick McGrath, author of Asylum
Levine debuts with a dark literary-fiction re-imagining of the macabre tale of Dr. Jekyll and Mister Hyde.
Dr. Jekyll’s an “alienist,” precursor of the psychiatrist, but it’s Hyde who seizes control and rips the narrative open. Jekyll’s studied in Paris recently, supposedly treating a man with multiple personalities, but after returning from France, Jekyll has befuddled those who know him best with his machinations—Utterson, his attorney, Lanyon, a fellow physician, and Poole, his butler. It seems he’s brought chemicals that provoke an exchange of one personality for another, and secretly, Jekyll’s dosing himself. Levine’s rendering of bustling Victorian London, misty-cold winters and summers “filled with gauzy lemony light,” provides the stage for Hyde’s midnight, fog-shrouded ramblings from tavern to brothel. Levine’s tale is dense, layered, sometimes obscure, its twisted origins resting with Jekyll’s dead father, who inflicted upon the boy perverse sexual manipulations and other cruelties. With the potion, the buried perversions flower as Hyde plunges into London’s debauched quarters, driven by Jekyll’s sexual deviations. Hyde beds Jeannie, 14-year-old street girl, and then installs her at a derelict mansion he’s leased, only to recognize he’s acting out Jekyll’s impotence in consummating a sexual relationship with married Georgiana, a lost love. Levine’s characters are fully realized, but many are abandoned in narrative cul-de-sacs: a housekeeper, a Tarot reader, a maid who has been raped. Levine’s masterful in his surrealistic observations of Hyde subsuming Jekyll. Hyde is all unfettered compulsion yet selfishly connected to his better nature because “[h]e was my hideout, my sanctuary.” The fracture comes with Hyde’s murder of Jekyll’s acquaintance, Sir Danvers X. Carew, MP, part of the London Committee for the Suppression of Traffic in Young English Girls, after which Hyde-Jekyll retreat to an abandoned surgery with a dwindling supply of the chemical catalyst.
Cleverly imagined and sophisticated in execution, this book may appeal to those who like magical realism and vampire stories, but the latter should know that the book is more intellectual than thriller.
Imagine that Edward Hyde, the alter ego of Dr. Jekyll, wasn’t the animalistic creature Robert Louis Stevenson created. Imagine, instead, that he was just a man and a misunderstood one at that. That’s Levine’s approach to this revisionist take on Stevenson’s classic tale, which is reprinted here, after Levine’s own story has come to a close. Levine’s version, narrated by Hyde, begins just before Stevenson’s ends: Hyde is concealed in Jekyll’s laboratory, Jekyll’s letter to his lawyer awaits discovery, Hyde waits to die. Hyde takes us back through the preceding months, covering the same ground as Stevenson but from a new perspective: Hyde as a newborn man, struggling to understand the world he’s been thrust into, driven by desperation to commit the acts recounted by Stevenson. We realize, in the process, how little Stevenson really explored Edward Hyde, how Hyde was a function of the narrative, an idea but not a fleshed-out man. Giving him flesh and humanity, Levine makes him a kind of tragic hero and gives the original version an added dramatic and emotional dimension. A fascinating companion piece to a classic story.
PUBLISHERS WEEKLY (starred)
Narrated by Dr. Henry Jekyll, Robert Louis Stevenson’s classic embodiment of the dark side of the human consciousness, this ambitious first novel provides an alternate perspective on Jekyll’s chemical experiments on the split personality. Edward Hyde first emerges independent of Jekyll on the streets of London in 1884—not as the malevolent brute that Stevenson conjured, but as a member of the lower classes who is fiercely protective of his and Hyde’s friends and interests. But over the course of two years, Hyde develops a reputation for evil that confounds him—and that he suspects is being engineered by Jekyll, whose consciousness lurks inside his own, steering him into certain assignations and possibly committing atrocities while in his form. Levine slowly unfolds the backstory of Jekyll’s schemes for Hyde, relating to his earlier failed “treatment” of a patient with a multiple-personality disorder, and traumatic events from Jekyll’s own childhood that come to light in the novel’s tragic denouement. Levine’s evocation of Victorian England is marvelously authentic, and his skill at grounding his narrative in arresting descriptive images is masterful (of the haggard, emotionally troubled Jekyll, he writes, “He looked as if he’d survived an Arctic winter locked within a ship frozen fast in the wastes”). If this exceptional variation on a classic has any drawback, it’s that it particularizes to a single character a malaise that Stevenson originally presented belonging universally to the human condition.