Set in Amsterdam in the late 1600s, this expansive novel has magic and history, illicit affairs and complicated relationships. Based loosely on real characters, the story follows young Nella as she arrives in the big city as a young bride to a wealthy but mysterious merchant. The reason behind his cold demeanor slowly comes to light. Burton expertly unravels each mystery right before your eyes. A book that I couldn’t put down and one that will haunt me for a while.
I loved the writing style most of all in this book. Very straightforward and yet poetic. The story moves along briskly but no love of language is lost. Also, I appreciate when an author delivers very little explanation about their universe but rather leave it up to the reader to believe in it. It was an engaging but tragic read in the end. I’ll find myself suggesting this one to a wide variety of readers.
I picked this book up at 2:30 on Friday and was done by 7:30 that night. I could not stop reading once I started. The characters are so fantastic and alive. The story is sweet and rings so true. Rainbow has a special talent for writing about love in a way that is not overly dramatic or schmaltzy. Instead she creates a romance between two people that is honest and uplifting. I truly enjoy every single book that she writes and look forward to many more from her in the future. Read this book no matter your age because it will either make you realize what is going on around you at the moment or just very nostalgic for things that happened long ago. Either way you will feel like just maybe love has a chance in this world.
The narrative of this book flips seamlessly through the life of Peter Els from early childhood to old age. From composer to possible bioterrorist. We meet him at his highs and lows- each moment punctuated by song. If you have the capabilities I suggest listening to each piece he describes. It enhances an already powerful novel. I felt my breath in my throat throughout this genuinely smart, beautiful book. I plan on running out and buying every Richard Powers book available.
When I first read the premise for this book I was thoroughly intrigued. I was not prepared for how beautifully it would be both written and translated. Luca, our narrator, is a precocious ten year old who has lost his very depressed mother. She is currently decaying in her bed. Luca’s voice is innocent and yet so serious; it reminds us that only kids can still see the world accurately anymore. But he’s not one of those child narrators that seem more like a tiny adult. It was really much more philosophical than I even expected, but not in an obvious, corny way. A really original and dark story.
This lost generation writer has been overlooked by me for way too long. His dark, often offensive, prose is modern and effective. The first novella in this collection from New Directions is Miss Lonelyhearts which is a a glimpse into the life of an advice columnist who is neither mentally nor spiritually fit to be answering any of these desperate letters. The Day of the Locust is the longer of the two works. It is set in Hollywood and investigates the bleak world of fame and fortune. Both of these short novels are subversively smart. He shines a spotlight on relationships of all kinds- from romantic to professional to familial. Each character has been dissected and laid bare so you can come to understand them which allows you to love them or despise them. You make a choice either way. I have found a new author to thoroughly investigate without a doubt.
One of my instant favorites. If you are a bookseller or ever dreamed of being a bookseller run out and pick this up immediately. He has such great insight into what it means to be a bookseller that it will help you in your trade. The added mix of danger and romance make this a great book for anyone— even non booksellers! This particular edition had an online catalogue of all the books mentioned which I intend on taking advantage of soon.