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Day of the Bees
The narrator of Thomas Sanchez's fourth novel teaches art history in America, but he dreams of Europe--or more specifically, of Spain. The Professor (as he identifies himself) specializes in a Spanish painter of the 1940s, Francisco Zermano, to whom he has devoted a spate of scholarly articles. He also spends hours staring at the man's paintings, trying to imagine the stor ...more
(first published 2000)
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As I said in my review of MILE ZERO, Sanchez is an unjustly overlooked writer. This was his first novel in 11 years, and it received only lukewarm reviews in part because a chunk of it is an epistolary novel but also because he was aiming to describe in highly ornate the nature of passion, which struck some readers as overwrought. What's cool about this book is the modernist milieu Sanchez explores. You can't go wrong with a Picasso-esque main character, a beautiful woman, a war-ravaged Europe, ...more
Jul 31, 2011 Ana rated it really liked it · review of another edition
Well, the only reason I am giving this book 4, not 5 stars, is that it got slow at times (which DID irritate me). Otherwise, it's a lovely, warm story (though there were a couple of descriptions which seemed a bit brutal to me) witnessing a passionate love between a painter and his muse! All that is expected from a good fiction (historical fiction with romance elements) you will find among these pages..no doubt about it! Passionate love...forbidden love...war...sacrifice. Enjoyed the story very ...more
Она што во минатото претставувала музата во сооднос со уметникот (поврзаност која вришти од еротски набој, сила која урива се пред себе и создава трагична убавина), во очите на дежурниот циник од 21 век изгледа како анимална страст помеѓу една дролја-нимфоманка и еден мрсник, по некоја случајност допрен од милоста на Бог.Горенаведениот дечко би имал безброј забелешки за оваа љубов (каде е местото на пчеларот и жената на Зермано во оваа нераскинлива љубов; или се овде во функција на зголемувачи н ...more
The plot is very engrossing and it kept me engaged. It's about an artist, his muse and great love, WWII partisans. But the book is overwritten, the prose is flowery, the characters are not well enough developed, and it stretched the boundaries of reality. My internal monologue was on overdrive:"This could not have happened because...". But I enjoyed it and if Allan Furst had written it, it would have been great.
I do not generally like novels in letter form. The letters in this one do a better job of advancing the story than in most of this genre, but in doing so are quite a bit less convincing as correspondence. About half-way through I was ready to bail. But I did not, and am glad for it. There really is quite a good story here, and the characters are strong and compelling.
From almost the first page, I was sucked into the romantic prose of Sanchez's writing style. His descriptive use of language was intoxicating and I just found myself lost within this story. I really enjoyed reading this book, and it's letter form didn't irritate me like I thought it might. There are some slow parts, but it's definitely worth it to reach the end.
In retrospect, I'm less enthralled by this book. There is some great writing in it, but some parts don't quite hold together. Sanchez himself however is a very interesting personality. And his first book was hugely important.
Generally really not a fan of epistolary fiction, but this story was startlingly beautiful & haunting. A love story, a war story, a mystery. Erotic, violent, achingly romantic. A legendary painter and his muse play out a tragic, epic tale of love, lust and danger.
This book was disturbing at times due to the incident with the soldier while the artist/lover was present. When an incident is so poignant, I realize that the author is good. Truly, I enjoyed the references to Mallorca and to the Spanish painters.
Granted, it would be hard to top Rebecca, the book I read immediately before picking this up. But this one is a story that contrives to be so many things at once: high romance/anti-war/travelogue/pseudo-poetic/soft-porn/mystery/trash. No rating.