Gallaway easily intertwines a supernatural element inspired by the original opera after which his book is named, The Makropulos Affair, as Lucien's father works towards creating an elixir for immortal life. Although I tend to avoid books with a supernatural twist, I was so enraptured with Gallaway's writing and storytelling that I was willing to suspend belief when necessary. Admittedly the novel was unexpectedly graphic at times but only once was I made uncomfortable by a liaison between two individuals who are actually related to each other and which felt unnecessary to the actual development of the story. The novel itself is reminiscent of the storytelling of Michael Cunningham, who wrote The Hours and most recently By Nightfall not only because of the fact that they both deal with sexuality but also because like, By Nightfall, The Metropolis Case is a novel focused mainly around New York and what Nightfall did for the art world, Gallaway does for opera, allowing the reader a glimpse into what happens behind the scenes.
An aspect of The Metropolis Case which I found particularly interesting was the very original chapter headings, however I was less impressed by the fact the novel began with a chapter written in e-mail format a technique which was not repeated in the remaining pages. I found it a little odd to begin a book in one way and then to abandon the method in the rest of it. Ultimately though, this is a very minor complaint for a novel that I overall enjoyed. I really loved Gallaway's writing, as he seemed capable of sharing just the right amount of detail to intrigue but not overwhelm the reader. Gallaway is able to interweave an incredible number of themes into the compact chapters, touching on sexuality, love, friendship, passion and family. This is also the first book I have ever read involving opera, and for a form of music which has been so important over time it was really wonderful to finally get a glimpse into the power and the people behind it. The Metropolis Case is a book that can most easily be described as both literary and intellectual, nothing in the novel is straightforward but the reader is rewarded for their investment with a story that is both interesting and original.
Release Date: December 28, 2010
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This review was a part of TLC Book Tours. Click here to read what other tour hosts thought. For the purpose of this review I was provided with a copy of the book which did not require a positive review. The opinions expressed in this post are completely my own.