The Soul of Lilith by Marie Corelli-The Books Time Forgot #5
Marie Corelli? Who?
A set of beautiful black books with golden type caught my eye at a book store about a month ago. The author was one I'd never heard of, so I did some research before I bought them about the mysterious Marie Corelli and could not believe what I found.
The books were science fiction and romance novels from the 1800's. The first one I began reading, The Soul of Lilith, follows the story of a man named El Rami who is obsessed with finding out the truth about life after death, on whether or not there is one and, if so, what that entails. He does so by keeping a young woman, Lilith, on the brink of death using some of his personal "magic" and personally made technology.
Obviously the book concerns questions of life after death, and mortality in its own right, but also the arrogance of man in pursuing the answers to such unobtainable questions and what people are willing to do when given the power to manipulate others to serve their own purposes.
The Soul of Lilith
The title of the novel caught my eye, which was why it was the first I decided to read.
The protagonist of the novel, El Rami, is a man from the East living in London, England, with his younger brother, Feraz, and his housekeeper. What no one else knows, however, is that there is a third guest living in his home--the housekeeper's daughter, young Lilith, whom El Rami told everyone died years ago when he invited his housekeeper to come work for him. El Rami is an astute, arrogant man who uses psychology and bordering other-worldly powers in order to seek answers about what happens after a body no longer belongs to the living world.
Through his own spectacular means, he has kept a hold on the soul of Lilith--though he believes her technically dead, he is able to communicate with her and attempts to derive out of her answers of where her soul goes after she dies. He is disappointed, though, when she only gives short, confounding replies to his questions.
The situation is already odd, but it becomes messier when El Rami's brother discovers what El Rami has been doing, and claims his love for Lilith, bringing out a fierce jealousy in El Rami that the man himself refuses to acknowledge.
Full of interesting speculation on mortality and arrogance, this book by Marie Corelli shows that seeking answers to the world's impossible questions is extremely dangerous and that the power required to do may overwhelm the person holding the power.
Marie Corelli's real name was Mary Mackay. She was the illegitimate child of Dr. Charles Mackay, a Scottish poet, and his servant Elizabeth Mills.
Corelli lived from 1855 to 1924, during which time she had a career first in music before turning to writing. Her books spread like wildfire and won the attention of those in the British Royal family and Winston Churchill, among others.
She spent forty years of her life living with her close friend, Bertha Vyver, who some suspected to be her lover. People questioned Corelli's sexuality, noting the intimate descriptions of women in her work, her close companionship with Ms. Vyver paired with the fact that neither ever married, and their initials found carved above the fireplace in their home.
During her lifetime, Corelli wrote about twenty six novels along with a handful of non-fiction books and short stories.
One of the most interesting facts to note is that from 1886 until the first World War, Corelli's novels sold more copies than Arthur Conan Doyle, H.G Wells, and Rudyard Kipling combined.
This is an amazing feat in and of itself, though her works seem to be less renown in the literary world than those she outsold. This may have something to do with the fact that critics during that time tore at her works and were always extremely critical over what they saw as dramatic, even pretentious writing.
Her books were also credited with creating a bases for the ideology of the New Age religion.
It's truly a shame that more do not know of Marie Corelli, her work, and her success.
The Soul of Lilith is entertaining and thought-provoking, a definite must-read for those curious as much as the protagonist about what is believed to be on the other side of death, and those who want a heart-wrenching story of science and love.
If you want to know more about Marie Corelli and her life's work, check out some of the links below, or if you have any questions or information, feel free to comment.