Two critically acclaimed contemporary novelists-Louis Bayard and Matthew Pearl-will bring the mysterious and compelling figure of Edgar Allan Poe, inventor of detective fiction and poet, to life when they discuss their recent historical novels in a special event at NYU on October 17, at 7 p.m. The event is free and open to the public. For further information, the public may call 212.998.2400.
Two critically acclaimed contemporary novelists-Louis Bayard and Matthew Pearl-will bring the mysterious and compelling figure of Edgar Allan Poe, inventor of detective fiction and poet, to life when they discuss their recent historical novels, The Pale Blue Eye (HarperCollins) and The Poe Shadow (Random House), in a special event at New York University on Tuesday, October 17, at 7 p.m. The event, which is free and open to the public, takes place at NYU’s Furman Hall, 245 Sullivan Street, room 216. For further information, the public may call 212.998.2400.
In an evening entitled “Poe x 2: Poe Lives on in 2 Modern Novels by Louis Bayard and Matthew Pearl,” the authors will discuss their books, how they came to be interested in Poe, and what led them to construct two such different tales: Bayard writes about Poe in his early life as a cadet at West Point (perhaps a little-known fact about the writer); and Pearl constructs his story in 1849 Baltimore during the strange circumstances of Poe’s death.
Bayard’s The Pale Blue Eye is set in the early days of West Point and features a retired New York City detective, Gus Landor, and a young cadet named Edgar Allan Poe. Someone, it seems, is killing West Point cadets and carving the hearts from their bodies. Landor is asked by the West Point authorities to lead the investigation. He agrees, under the condition that he can enlist one of their cadets, 20-year-old Poe, to be his spy. Together, they sift through the clues and risk their lives to find a killer before he finds them. Bayard is a writer and book reviewer whose work has appeared in the New York Times and the Washington Post, among other venues. His previous novel, Mr. Timothy, was a New York Times Notable Book and a People Best Book of the Year in 2003.
In the New York Times bestseller The Poe Shadow, Pearl explores the strange circumstances surrounding Poe’s death in 1849. Though little conclusive evidence has ever been revealed, over the years scholars have published theories citing causes such as heart attack, rabies, and murder. But Pearl’s painstaking research led him to a series of facts that could help solve one of literary history’s most persistent enigmas, and he reveals them here in a novel about a young Poe enthusiast desperate to uncover the truth behind his hero’s demise. Pearl is a graduate of Harvard and Yale Law School. His first novel, The Dante Club, was also a New York Times bestseller.