Saturday, April 5, 2014

Beauty and a Dwarf

Dunant's books make me glad that I studied a bit of Florence and the Medici family a lifetime ago in my undergraduate degree.  You never know where being well read comes in handy!

I have never read a book told from the perspective of an ugly dwarf before, and this was quite a novelty.  A very entertaining way to spend a few hours reading. 

I enjoyed reading this book for the different portrayal of Italy (Rome, Venice, and a few other cities) and it's citizens.  This book is about a courtesan and her companion dwarf (a beauty and the beast of sorts, and about how appearances can be deceiving in terms of their intelligence and relationships) and follows them from the fall of Rome in 1527 to Venice in the next decade or so.  I like that Dunant celebrates different female roles, without making her women out to be simpering fools.  I really enjoyed Bucino's point of view because it was so different.  I did find myself almost skipping ahead at times to see how the story would unfold, and there are some interesting characters that weave their way through this book and found the turn to focus on 'La Draga' in the last third of the novel to be somewhat rushed and not perfectly connected to the rest of the plot.  A moment in time is captured in the textures of this novel, and it is worth a gander.  I found it totally different from what I have been reading lately.  Not perfect, but crafted well enough with an interesting story to tell.

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