This strange tale brilliantly evokes the summer of 1899. In Venice Robert Browning meditates on his approaching death while at Niagara Falls four disparate characters are drawn inexorably towards a single destiny by the fatal magnet of the great whirlpool. The undertaker’s widow is anticipating the season’s crop of suicides. The military historian reviews past battles. His wife becomes infatuated with Browning’s verse and in turn infatuates the idealistic young poet. The whirlpool’s twisting water is a reflection of these people’s swirling obsessions and in the end it will have its victim. Jane Urquhart’s ‘Whirlpool’ is a strange and sensuous novel.
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