Luscinia: a romance of nightingales and roses, by Brian Stableford,
published by Borgo Press 2010.
How does magic work? And can a tattooist inspired by the spirit of Edgar Allan Poe be some kind of magician? Crispin Ellsworth would initially prefer to remain a recluse than find out. However, a rash decision made when he was young and in love has drawn him into this story, along with a collection of other characters whose unusual tattoos mark them out as works of art.
Luscinia is a deep and lovely story. Inspired by Oscar Wilde’s ‘The Nightingale and the Rose’, this new variation illuminates the original and its precursors, while adding something new and original. It is a story about men and women, art and magic, and about its fictional narrator, who comes very much alive.
The language is precise and poignant. It has an old-fashioned feel, that some readers may find strange for a story set in the present day. The style is consistent, however, so that lovers of Oscar Wilde’s fairy tales may easily relax into it.
Woven into the story are many interesting threads of information, including some insights into the experience of having Asperger’s Syndrome. Crispin Ellsworth suffers, as does the nightingale tattooed into his skin, but is he cursed? He has learned about the nature of his Asperger’s traits and knows how to be himself. That is why he is in a position to provide answers to the questions posed by the fate of the tattooist, Devon Curtin.
Review by Sally Startup