Wednesday, December 11, 2013

A hit and a miss…

This was one of those books that falls under "and now for something completely different".

This was an interesting book about something I didn't know anything about - the 'Mud Angels' that arrived in Florence after the Arno flooded in 1966.  This book is about Italy, book conservation, with a light dusting a lust.  From the title, you would expect a sensual novel, but that was not this novel.

I can't say that Hellenga nailed the female narrative, and I found it a bit offsetting at times how he shifted his narrative voice. but there were some elements that I also really enjoyed about this book.  Hence, the title of this post.

This is the story of a 29 year old book conservator who finds her way to Florence to ultimately have her life's big adventure. There she meets a few paramours, and embarks on a bit of a journey of self discovery.  For a relatively short, and small book (the book is an off size itself), this wasn't a quick read.  There were times I wasn't pulled along by the current of the narrative, and last night, I think I was on a mission to get going and move on to my next book.  Funny how that happens sometimes.  I think a personal goal would be to read 40 books this year.  I think 2 more and I am there… Which also pushed me to get through that last 150 pages last night.  Speaking of which - sleep, who needs sleep?  Did I mention that in the last few weeks I have had a hard time settling down and getting to bed at a decent time?  It is almost like the days are so crammed that I am enjoying the silence at night and pursing weird things like lego, knitting, and reading.  From the sight of my kitchen this morning, perhaps some of that time should have been dedicated to cleaning it.

There were a few passages that were pretty well crafted though.. such as this one:  "Have you ever read a great novel, or listened to a great symphony, or stood in front of some great work of art, and felt - absolutely nothing?  You try to open yourself to the text, the music, the painting, but you have no power to respond.  Nothing moves you.   You are turned to stone.  You feel guilty.  You blame yourself, but you also wonder if maybe there's nothing there, and that people only pretend to enjoy Dante's Paradisio or Beethoven's Eroica, or Botticelli's Primavera because they get good marks in Culture 101 for doing so.  And then, when you least expect it, when you've closed the book, walked out of the concert hall or the museum, it hits you.  Something hits you, comes at you from an odd angle."  Interesting thought.

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