I appreciated that the author wished to examine how her mother felt having heard at the age of ten it was a shame that she lived while her mother hadI appreciated that the author wished to examine how her mother felt having heard at the age of ten it was a shame that she lived while her mother had died in childbirth. That is a horrible burden to bear! Likewise, the author was told first at the age of twelve that her "granny" was in fact not her true maternal grandmother. The trauma of such information can be passed on genetically, according to the newly supported theory of epigenetics.
I was moved by the experiences of the grandmother, mother and the author. I find the concept of epigenetics fascinating. However I found the book itself not exceptionally well written. There are many individuals mentioned. While these are familiar to the author it is hard for an outsider to keep track of exactly who is who. The book details the author's search for her ancestors. The book focuses as much on the author as on her mother and grandmother. She writes so that they will not be forgotten. I understand that it is of large importance to the author personally, but in a larger perspective one can question the significance of the book.
The audiobook is narrated by Lee Ann Howlett. The narration is clear and easy to comprehend. It is not read rapidly, which I appreciate, yet it is still difficult at times to follow because there are many individuals and the author’s grandfather married two wives both called Nannie!
I have been given an audiobook in exchange for an honest review. ...more
These letters are described in this way at Audible:
"The deepest currents of passion seldom break the surface of literature. Romantic classics abound; but however skilled a writer may be in verbalising an emotional experience, he cannot publicly evoke the heat of blood, the yearning of soul, bared in perfect intimacy between two beings. But letters can do this, and songs never meant to be sung by any but the lover, or the beloved."
"The Letters of Heloise and Abelard perpetuate perfectly the bitterness of love thwarted and betrayed. How these letters were preserved no one quite knows. But they are as authentic as the two people from whose tormented lives they were wrung."
I certainly need help if I'm to fully understand the letters, let alone judge them.
The narration is done by two: Claire Bloom and a male narrator that is not stated! Bloom does a very good job in expressing through her intonation her emotions. Her lines are easier to follow than the male narrator who reads Abélard's letters.
I have done a little research. The letters are written years after the love affair. The two fall passionately in love. She gets pregnant, and they marry. Her parents are furious. He is castrated. Their physical love and passion is transformed into a "spiritual love". I certainly did not get all of this by listening to the audiobook! I did feel Héloïse's love for Abélard in the lines of her letters to him, less in his to her.
Plays are meant to be seen. Listening to an audiobook can never equal one's experience of sitting in a theater watching! I leave the rating blank. ThePlays are meant to be seen. Listening to an audiobook can never equal one's experience of sitting in a theater watching! I leave the rating blank. The play I loved, but not the audiobook, though not poorly performed. No information about setting.
While searching for the correct version I have now discovered that what I have listened to is in fact an abridgment! This was not stated at Audible. This annoys me. ...more
I recommend reading this book after Portrait of an Artist: A Biography of Georgia O'Keeffe, which I gave five stars. The first is a biography of her wI recommend reading this book after Portrait of an Artist: A Biography of Georgia O'Keeffe, which I gave five stars. The first is a biography of her whole life. With that as a background you easily recognize the people and the places she speaks of. Here, the artist speaks only of her art. This is a large format book showing the paintings of the author as well as the artist's reasons for and explanations of each artwork. It explains what she was trying to do with each painting.
I find this line, on page 63, essential:
"And I long ago came to the conclusion that even if I could put down accurately the thing that I saw and enjoyed, it could not give to the observer the kind of feeling that it gave me."
She says this as an explanation of why she so often paints parts of an object, rather than the whole. Yet the same idea lays behind her other techniques and how different individuals perceive all art. She stresses the importance of shape, that a shape can hold beauty. She explains how it is the hole that pulls her rather than the object itself, for example the startling blue sky in the hole encircled by a pelvis bone. She expresses her view on objective versus abstract art. You learn how one painting led to another, and when you see the progression you more easily comprehend the message. She specifies how she made the artwork, step by step from the stretching of the canvas to the final transport to the studio. Painstaking hard work.
You see paintings of shells, of flowers, of bones, of houses, of NYC, of antlers, of stones, of skies, of clouds, of hills.
To understand O'Keeffe's painting I had to read this book. With her help I have come to understand what she wanted said. What I looked at before with unknowing eyes I now look at with a new perspective and see the beauty she wanted me to see.
Each of us is different. Without her accompanying lines, most of us will probably not see what she was trying to say. Yet if a form / a shape has beauty, while our interpretations may differ, we should see that beauty. ...more