What in the world did I just read? A strange tale of dwarves, gods, Irishmen, and islands written nearly 100 years ago which, as it turns out, was a leading influence in the storyline of the TV show LOST. The strength of the work lies in its writing, with all of the flourishes and verbosity so common in the post-Victorian era in which it was penned. The weakness of it, ironically, lies also in its writing. Far too many instances dragged on and on and on and on... At so many points in reading this, I longed to have had Hemingway take an axe to it. For a TYPICAL example, Merrit writes this in describing a foliaged vista:
"Forests of tree-high mosses spangled over with blooms of every conceivable shape and colour; cataracts and clusters, avalanches and nets of blossoms in pastels, in dulled metallics, in gorgeous flamboyant hues; some of them phosphorescent, and shining like living jewels; some sparkling as though with dust of opals, of saphires, of rubies and topazes and emeralds; thickets of convolvuli like the trumpets of the seven archangels of Mara, king of illusion, which are shaped from the bows of splendours arching his highest heaven!"
Yes, he said "convolvuli" and yes, he ended it with an exclamation point. I think maybe Hemingway might have put it thusly: "It was covered in flowers."
I think you get the point. It is what it is. It's long. The story is not bad. It is still in print after a century and I have yet to write anything but silly reviews. 2.5 stars, but closer to 3 than 2.