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Mapmaker's Opera

3.39  ·  Rating Details ·  116 Ratings  ·  19 Reviews
Inspired by the magnificent images in John James Audubon's Birds of America, Diego Clemente dreams of journeying to the New World to see such creatures for himself and gets his chance when his joins American naturalist Edward Nelson to create a guide to the birds of the Yucatan, in a turbulent Mexico on the eve of revolution.
Published March 27th 2006 by Harper Perennial (first published 2005)
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(showing 1-30)
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Tea Jovanović
Kanađanska španskog porekla, predivna autorka i topla i šarmantna osoba svojim stilom pisanja podseća na Izabelu Aljende... Imala sam priliku da je upoznam davne 2005. na sajmu u Toronto i da se malo družimo... Jedino mi je žao što nema više napisanih ovako predivnih romana i što nisam uspela da je dovedem u Beograd pa je i njeni čitaoci upoznaju... Pravi, živahan, i španski srdačan duh... :)
Juliet Wilson
Jun 13, 2009 Juliet Wilson rated it it was amazing
Shelves: nature, novels
This is a wonderful book, set in early 20th century Mexico, combining history and biology, opera and a sense of justice. Sofia is a young woman fascinated by the natural world who manages to persuade her father to let her work with two scientists as they put together a bird book for the area. The scientists are also fascinated by the captive passenger pigeons held by the wealthiest man in the area. Meanwhile revolution is brewing around them all.....

It's a beautiful book and one that will make m
Jan 31, 2010 krin rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction
This was a beautifully told story about birds, love and people on the eve of revolution. I liked the opera theme throughout as characters entered the scene from stage right or left.
Kayla West
Dec 20, 2012 Kayla West rated it it was amazing
This has to be one of the most exquisite stories I have ever read in my life. It also has to be one of the most unique tellings of a story that I have ever read. You see, the reason for this is because it is an opera. The main characters that are mentioned by name in the story are, ultimately, the singers in this written production. They are mentioned beforehand in a list of their respective titles and roles, along with the tone of voice they sing. We have our lead soprano, Sofia Duarte, and our ...more
Feb 19, 2013 Megan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I'm not quite sure what to say about this book. Whenever I picked it up, I was utterly swept away into the story. I wasn't always the biggest fan of all the characters, but it was in the way that you don't always like everyone you meet--sometimes people are jerks. I really liked the setting, too. I'm not very familiar with this era in history, but really got into it with the details the author provided.

But whenever I put it down again, I saw the cracks in the book. The story might have been enga
Feb 26, 2008 Katy rated it really liked it
An interesting, involving book. The novel follows the framework of an opera (acts, scenes) and has a (semi-tragic) plot that one could certainly envision as that of an opera. I read the book slowly (unusual for me), but I enjoyed the reading of it so much I didn't want to rush through. The book follows the life of Diego, a bird enthusiast (among other things), who travels from Spain to Mexico to start a new life and assist with the research, illustration, and writing of a book on local birdlife. ...more
Jun 06, 2012 Michael rated it really liked it
A charming story about a boy who grows up in Seville the son of a kindly bookseller and a bitter disappointed mother. He then moves to the Yucatan to study and paint birds and fall in love with the beautiful Sophia. It is also the story of Sophia's efforts to avoid the constricting role her station and gender have assigned her. A well written and engaging book, though both the mapmaking and the opera are merely devices and have very little to do with the actual plot.
Darshan Elena
Nov 26, 2007 Darshan Elena rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: folks who adore Sevilla, Colonial Mexico, and revolution in historical perspectives.
I need need need to visit Sevilla. At the moment, I am engaged in endless hours of travel porn, which entails reading about Sevilla, its architecture, people, music, food. Tonight, I will be making a saffron-infused stew. Oh, the book is quite fine too. Its descriptions of Sevilla, Merida, and the interiors of home and the mind are luscious. That said, if you don't like flowery writing, stay away. This book is poetic, romantic, fantastic if you care for such styles.
Oct 13, 2008 Barbara rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I bought the book because I knew it was partly about Merida, Mexico, where I spent some time last year. I didn't know that the book starts in Seville, Spain and spans several centuries. It's a lovely "opera," covering the usual subject of love, but also the role that class plays in culture, and the role of women. If you want to know about eh conquistadors, about birds, about people who love books and more, this bookk has it all.

This was a very lyrical novel set in early 20th century Seville and Mexico. I wasn't quite sure it really deserved being classed as 'magical realism' despite the operatic theme. I suspect that publisher's tend to place a book in this genre if it is set in Central/South America.

Still this was a delightful read, very poignant in terms of its central love story and a reminder how timeless a tale of star-crossed lovers can be.
May 31, 2010 Lesley rated it liked it
Really a 3.5 This book is well written. It introduces and ties the characters together with stage lefts and backstage insides without over-doing it. You want to know how the marks got on Abuela's map and it propels you through the book, but like any opera there is love and trajedy and the end leaves you wishing things were different. Overall-a good story with a wide variety of characters.
Andrea LeClair
Jul 03, 2008 Andrea LeClair rated it really liked it
Came upstairs on the New Books truck and I grabbed it based only on the book jacket's description of the protagonist who finds solace in Audubon's Birds of America and the mention of passenger pigeons. A main-character, a book, and birds that are also a metaphor: a tempting formula.
Nicholas Graham
Sep 12, 2012 Nicholas Graham rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Described as an opera might be, the story starts in Seville and moves to Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula. The protagonist is very likeable and the elements of history, environmental and social issues, and romance are very well woven. The novel is being made into a musical theatre production:
Mar 02, 2011 Cindy rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This was the last I read of the books I bought for my Yucatan trip last Christmas. I loved it and was sorry it ended. It reads like someone is telling you a great story. It starts in Seville, a place I love, and ends in the Yucatan. Perfect for me. It kind of reads like a TV drama, but set an exotic place and distant time.
Mar 25, 2008 Ferris rated it it was ok
I found this choppy, poorly written book to be a disappointment. The only redeeming feature was the historical information about Mexico, specifically the Yucatan. Details of the hemp industry, the naturalist Edward Nelson, and the beginnings of the Mexican Revolution are what kept me reading to the end.
Marcella Starck
Nov 13, 2014 Marcella Starck rated it really liked it
This was a beautifully written book--I was completely swept away in the love story, drama, tragedy. Add in there some amazing nature and it was wonderful!
Aug 24, 2008 Renee rated it did not like it
I couldn't finish it. It did not keep me interested past the first 50 pages.
Megan C
Oct 02, 2010 Megan C rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Just lovely. Lovely and lovely all the way through.
Sep 29, 2008 Pam marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
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