Wow, I'm blown away by all the neg reviews. Even knowing all our mixed-up, varied opinions are what makes the world keep going on and on, round and arWow, I'm blown away by all the neg reviews. Even knowing all our mixed-up, varied opinions are what makes the world keep going on and on, round and around and around. As for me and my humble opinion of "The Lacuna? I was blown away. Masterful, well-researched, well-written work of art. Loved it and plan on re-reading it. ...more
I'm sick. Afflicted with a disorder, one all would dread, one affecting neural transmitters, affecting the way a thought might be ordered, or worse? WI'm sick. Afflicted with a disorder, one all would dread, one affecting neural transmitters, affecting the way a thought might be ordered, or worse? Written. Losing an arm or leg might not have this profound an affect on me, personally; my brain being something I placed a mighty high value on. Sadly, that's neither here nor there, for what is, is where I go from here. How I deal the hand dealt. But then, like Arturo Belanos, I'm nothing if not multi-faceted, multi-layered, complicated, a human being. IN FULL GLORY.
Which brings me to "The Savage Detective" and the genius of Bolaño. He gives us this birds eye view. A 360° arial ever-widening, far-reaching grasp of all these perceptions of his maybe•kinda•sorta•semi-autobiographical, main character, Arturo Belanos. We begin to feel we know him, we do, but he, like all of us, is all these different people, to so many people he becomes, in time ineffably HUMAN.
With every insight into a human's frailties and misfires, their joys and sadness, perversions, delusions and fuck-ups, all the myriad loves gained and lost—"The Savage Detective's" is all this and more. O! It's so much more than this. There is a world in this here book. A world of Poetry. Longing. Despair. Twilight nights of a Beauty-a Mexican Beauty. There is Humour. Sex. Los Sucidas Mezcal. It's the Mother of All Road Trips. And always, always, always The Writing.
It comes back to the writing. It comes back to do or die. Finding new paths—pathways. New ways. The old ways are done. Finite. Gone are the days of old, when my affliction was verb-eee-ahh-sah-tee. Putting in every f n word u c? Even throwing in, for good measure, the purina, bowl and the kitty. Lessons Learned? Don't put in-What you can't take out. It was the writing that tipped me off to this being a "real" problem, it giving pause to things like grammar and editing.
I can thank God that like a lot on this beautiful planet, these things have a way of re-generating. Amazing. I feel it happening now. It makes me feel like a Savage. A Detective of my own body. A Savage Detective.
Lesson Two? Don't jump in a moving Impala making a quick qet-away. Oh my Juan, we hardly knew ye. We cry for you, we who remember you at all. And I do. ...more
Thank you Mr. Graye for recommending this book as my next Don DeLillo read, as I navigate thru his body of work, this being my fourth. There are few aThank you Mr. Graye for recommending this book as my next Don DeLillo read, as I navigate thru his body of work, this being my fourth. There are few authors who have received the gift of perfecting every sentence laid down, absolutely right in the place they belong, throughout the length of the entire novel. Of course DeLillo is one of these artists, and he doesn't disappoint here. Sheer perfection throughout.
Honestly, uhhh, well, no, never mind. Some things are better left unsaid, left to the imagination. Burp. ...more
It's coming....But upon immediate completion, it goes out with my highest recommendation. One of my favorite authors ever, she's the master crafter ofIt's coming....But upon immediate completion, it goes out with my highest recommendation. One of my favorite authors ever, she's the master crafter of perfect sentence structure and it's inherent metered flow. Pure genius is Le Guin, her prose could not be better. not even by one single letter. High praise indeed....more
Sarah Dunant's gem of a book, "The Birth Of Venus," is a brilliant period piece written painted on the page with all the fire of oils then finished ofSarah Dunant's gem of a book, "The Birth Of Venus," is a brilliant period piece written painted on the page with all the fire of oils then finished off with a glow emanating from the veneer that comes after being highly glazed. She masters the big four: Story— Imagery—Elegance—Intelligence, in such a "readable" way, I flew through it (or it, through me) and I finished it, cover to cover, in under two hours, whilst in a surreal haze. Okay. To be honest, the haze was probably from the real fever I had "caught" and not solely the haze from being swept into another world. Still...
What another gorgeous feast for the senses from Dunant. I have to put this down. Now. In words. My thoughts and my feelings, while still fresh with all this meaning.This feeling. Don't waste the echoes and those far-away feelings of distance you get while in a state of fiery brain-heated yet torpid, languid, dare I say, blissful confusion, while viewing bad TV, all the while, whining "Wahhh," to your mother or your significant other or heaven forbid, simply sit staring into your Dasani bottled up water. Oh no, that just won't do. Not when you can go (be taken) all other-worldly. Mind swoon yourself (by the grace of another) back to the 1400's.
Dunant's strokes are vibrant, so ardent and inventive, known by trademark authentic; her marriage of story to prose so light it's like silver sheen, comparable to air, or a gossamer trail, she hits every possible note, with every masterful stroke. With consummate skill, she sets forth this gilded tale with the upmost finesse and flair. She blends her palette well, blurring word and color seamlessly and simultaneously. Now, imagine all that rolled into one "now" during your reading. She brings the words, which writhe alive, bright, right off the page, as if laid down with one of those "Silver Brush" sables, highly-praised, top-of-the-line, red sables (that are hand selected from marten tails) this book is the equivalent of an excellent rendering known as Chiaroscuro (there's no adumbration here) as if this WERE a painting, rather than black marks on white paper. Sometimes, we readers DO get lucky, finding the edges really do blur, and no not a fever thing at all. That's unfair to Ms. Dunant.
Simply put, this book comes alive, awash with colors, verdigris, lapis lazlulis, vermillion, the darkest of indigo, pomegranate, even the blood is aflame, on fire, all a rage with pure color. (Ok, I was Art Major/Art History Minor. Crazy what's still there for recall.)
In the mid—1400's Lorenzo de' Medici of Florence bought himself the services of one Alessandro di Mariano di Vanni Filipepi, who we recognize today as Sandro Botticelli, you know, "Adoration of The Magi." Botticelli had the gift, he's the guy who envisioned, painted and glorified Venus de' Milo the über-goddess, rising/standing so demurely, even while being delectable and desirous, so pure from her place of exultation. Immortality on a half shell. As any Art Historian worth a grain of salt already knows, Lorenzo was not the first patron d' arts living during this gilded age of Platonic Ideals, a time when real people lived real lives while seeking real answers to life's eternal questions regarding God, Life, Death, Beauty, Truth, Reason and Enlightenment. They were seeking Painted Reverence and Beauty, so they went out, bought then brought home, their own personal Divined Artisans. This was how it was in their time on earth named now as The Renaissance, it's just the way life was back in Florence circa mid-1400.
Before Lorenzo ever became a thought, or a thought being conceived into being, his grandfather Cosimo de' Medici the Elder, who (most likely) was the first Medici art patron, had purchased the services of an artist for himself Cosimo, went top drawer, top of the line and secured a commission with the one and only, master craftsman of his time, Donato di Niccolò di Betto Bardi, better known to all as Donatello. He was a sculptor, large bronzes, bas reliefs, pagan themes...Madonna and Child...his famous homo-erotic nude in the round bronze of David. Donatello was not without his detractors, although he lived a long life, dying in Florence at eighty. He is buried in the Basilca of San Lorenza alongside his patron, Cosimo de' Medici the Elder. We'll return to Botticelli later (who certainly was just as deserving as Donatello, as far as accolades go) as he is relevant to the story, "The Birth of Venus."
As all the fashionable Florencian's knew, it was all about "Keeping Up With The de' Medici's." If, that is, you were of noble birth, had plenty of money, a chapel alluring enough to provide years of study, time for all that hard work behind the scenes: the layout, gridwork, preliminary pre-sketches, setting up the scaffolding; all this even before the first brushstrokes could be laid down on the final fresco. To the painter in need of a patron and the patrons purchasing of said painter, trust came down to the painters freedom to paint said chapel along with the altar peices, and whatever God saw fit to flow through those fingers, which could only be explained as being touched by God-Giving Divinity. Still, most were considered, at best, tradesmen, or in the case of the Checchi family, more simply put as merely "The Painter."
Paolo Checchi, is a merchant, world renowned (in 1440!) for his original fabrics and textiles. They were top-quality, colorful, rich and flamboyant, therefore highly coveted, by not only Italians, but anywhere a ship could be put to port. He is rising ever higher in his social status, when we first open the pages of "The Birth of Venus." Paolo has just returned from the North Country, where all is gray and the cold has such a chill that it seeps into ones very soul, washing all but the barest hint of color away. (Along with digits, if one is not careful.) According to "The Painter."
(Dunant can also be witty, yes, even when writing tales of horror as vibrant as she does fabric, you can really feel it. Retaining her fluid, elegant voice, her words, impressions, the images of evil literally float off the page. Although, this is history, we are at least, eased into the torture. The poverty of the lower classes, sicknesses and deaths were practically daily events, way back then in history.)
Paolo is coming home to his family, bringing with him, The Painter. All the 'good' families have one. His wife, we discover, is notably more noble, on the hierarchy scale of how Highborn one can be, she having attained that height higher than her Good Husband Paolo could ever hope to aspire to. Paolo, is, after all, a merchant, a purveyor of goods, top quality and coveted to be sure, though useless for that highest scale of born to be noble. She's in an all together higher league that he will never be nor ever reach. Still, it has all the appearance of a happy and prosperous union. They have been blessed with two sons, Lucas and Tomas. Not much of a blessing. You'll see. They also have two daughters, Plautillo and Alessandra. Night and day, these two. Now, as this family is on the rise, they too, have their own personal artisan, "The Painter." Changes are coming, not only to Florence and The Holy Church but to the Checchi family as well.
Alessandra is the young heroine of our story. Her road is not easy. When is it ever, in most times, when blessed/cursed with an innate curiosity of mind combined with a superior intellect? Fuse this with an extraordinary artistic talent, which in those times, even for the Highborn, could be called out as heresy. No, poor Alessandra was staring at fates fangs the moment her body conspired against her, even as this kind of conspiracy is altogether inevitable. At fourteen she became woman. Childhood and the safety net it provides in the dangerous times that are sensed as inevitably drawing ever near, makes the venom dig in a little a deeper.
This all coincides with the advent of the fanatical Salvorono, a monk from nowhere, (in the context of the story) who took to preaching his sermons of hellfire and damnation to the very devout Florencian's, which left them reeling, confused and more than a little afraid. Were his sermons, which he claimed as being God inspired, and the issues he raised, even possible things? They, the people, the masses, so conflicted, began to fear his promises of their collective journey to the very pits of hell, as too close to real.
His power base grew, not only in numbers, but in the degree of his followers beliefs. They would grow to be as fanatical as the fanatic. His sermons grew harsher, he called the Florencian's out. For even the most flimsy infringements, he kept coming back with, as yet again, yes, this too, is nothing less than a most vile of sin. He banned women from all Church Services and put them on strict city-wide curfew. Then his rhetoric turned worse, by degrees, exponitially worsening as he grew more powerful. His pitch grew violent when geared towards hells consignment for those known (or slandered, just, unjust, these were, after all, trivial semantics) as being the perverted sodomites, whores, soothsayers and unbelievers, or gasp! Of COURSE it worsens, as things tend to do, when fanatics have leave to breed fear unchecked! The ARTISANS! Those God gifted/divined/inspired ones, or at least as they were venerated before the monks arrival, not all that long ago. Mind you, in the age of The Renaissance, most painters painting Masterpieces believed it to be a CALLING, therefore they did find inspiration from the Divine when they put a brush to hand. Minds break, along with hearts, upon finding they are now the evil creatures, satans spawn. Patrons, people, priests and preachers alike all whispering, "Who dared? How DID they? How COULD we? Who were THEY to think of re-creating images/figures/eyes—windows upon the souls to those of The Holy Trinity, The Mother Mary, The Christ Child? Jesus himself?" What blasmephy! The arrogance! Here we go now...The days of REASON, of ENLIGHTENMENT—were OVER.
I'm not big on spoilers. Never give them. Still, I was planning on going a little deeper into the storyline. Alessandra's kinda-sorta being duped into a catastrophic marriage. Those dangerous times called for drastic measures. And it was not a thing possible, under that sun, or any other, when tingly sparks ignite between the useless talent of the Art—Worshipping, Brand—New Woman, Alessandra and The Painter, this flame must be doused, before igniting into a raging fire. The Painter is still living in quarters no better than a stable, still taking his meals all alone, all the while, creating works recognized by some as genius, which they are. Of course, the frustrated young budding artist girl is giddy, to have a true master, such as he, this closer than close, to her. Alas, she's now on permanent being slaved-watched status. Sure, she's snuck down the steps in the dark when the house is abed, just so she can sneak a peek at his secret technique, since he only paints in the dead of night. How else is a girl going to learn? Nope, the girl must be right and proper married. With this, I'll leave you to discover the fate of young Alessandra.
Botticelli fell under the sway of the fanatical, violent, Salvorono. In doing so, he denounced and burned many of his own masterpieces himself. Rumors still abound to this day, regarding his sexual orientation. There is evidence he was turned in as a sodomite, but was released, untortured. So here, I can bring up an important point. On two major—one minor parts of the storyline, it is acknowledged by Dunant, obviously, she has taken full advantage of creative-literary license. As The Painter didn't get off quite that lucky. Yep, a certain someone had it in for him too. Although he was able to continue painting many masterpieces in the years to come. Hmmm, just who was this Painter?
If you know anything about Italian History, or the Renaissance, or possibly some history regarding the affairs of the Catholic Church or The Vatican, you may know Salvorono WAS in fact FINALLY publically called out by Pope Alexander VI and after his final fiasco, a disastrous public humiliation of what would of been the first trial by fire in Florence in over four hundred years, Salvorono, along with two other monks were duly arrested and went to meet their destiny. I must admit here, there are, still, two schools of thought on the piety of Salvorono. I know what I think about those who torture a thing born, what that draws breath, for ANY reason under Gods sun, or even in the infinite of the universe. I have no use for them. Ohhh, my fevers rising. "Tylenol please!"
FIVE STARS AND A FAVORITE
I know it needs some cleaning up. I'll come back and do later. Cross my fingers! Uncrossing—It took awhile! Finally, is all I say. : )...more
Not in the same category as Fight Club. Not quite as unique as Damned. A world of difference (to the better) over the last CP I read, which I didn't
Not in the same category as Fight Club. Not quite as unique as Damned. A world of difference (to the better) over the last CP I read, which I didn't care for. To the point I don't think I even remember the title! Fan Club? All the name dropping? Read Lullaby instead. Or Damned. Or Choked. Or Fight Club.
Lullaby is dark, black humor plumed into a road trip that swings some curves with the unlikeliest of compadres on a mission—to save innocents from SIDS, even while one is profiting from this Olde African Lullaby. If you're a fan, and you like his black humor, it's worth the read.
P.S. Not Fan Club, lol ; ) It's "Tell-All." ...more
The Glassblowers Daughter By Frances Clarke 276 Pages 5 I'm going to begin my review by quoting a fellow reviewer of this book. "Raven" conveys what I feThe Glassblowers Daughter By Frances Clarke 276 Pages 5 ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ I'm going to begin my review by quoting a fellow reviewer of this book. "Raven" conveys what I feel, with such eloquence, it bears repeating. "This book reads like a single sentence, in that it is so seamlessly, exquisitely woven, it flows like a completely natural and unstoppable expression of a life from the moment the reader begins it. It is like picking up a life- between its covers, the events of this life are occurring, and when one picks up the book one simply hops on the train and is completely involved. It left me breathless."
On the other side of the coin, there were extremely negative reviews, by readers opposing the content, (which was not explicit, merely implied) or even put off by the old man's "A'wite gel, git ain hame wit ye knae." (I'm sure I just embarrassed myself to death, the closest I've been to Scotland is Jamie's "dinna ya kin" in The Outlander Series.) But, as the reviews were so diametrically opposed, I had to see for myself.
Not a word out of place, not one word to many. Just sheer perfection. Ms. Clarke handles this most taboo, yet let's be clear, all to real for far to many, subject, with the most compelling grace and dignity, I hesitate to even make it my lead. Make no mistake, this book is about life. And sometimes "life" swallows you whole, chews you up, spits you back out and says live with THAT. It is, however, so much more than that. After reading the book for myself then comparing what I had read with some of the more critical reviews, I felt obliged to write my own, maybe my third, out of the several hundred books I have read off Amazon Kindle. Frances Clarkes writing is high-brow intelligent, seamless and pitch perfect. We follow young Greta, daughter of the glassblower, who is employed by the University to blow the chemistry beakers, and a tortured soul with an accent thicker than highland heather and her unhappy Mother, who has secrets of her own. Young Greta's greatest joy in life is her older sister Deborah, who reads her the fairy tales of Hans Christian Anderson that take her away into a land of make believe. We follow the twists and turns (and stagnation) of Greta's life beginning in the mid-fifties, with stops in the early and late sixties, up and into the mid seventies, as she struggles to come to terms with what "can't be spoken of." My deal had been sealed, way back in the very beginning, but just to give you an idea....in Part 4, the scene of Greta standing at window, with Gerry Rafferty's hit song Baker Street being played on the radio. That was as evocative an image had I been there myself saying, "Do you mind turning that up a bit?" This is a haunting story, beautifully written, by a major talent. ...more
Stunning. In the midst of merging The Great And Secret Show with this, The Second Book Of The Art, Everville, and maybe, hopefully, something resembliStunning. In the midst of merging The Great And Secret Show with this, The Second Book Of The Art, Everville, and maybe, hopefully, something resembling a coherent review will spill out. Fingers crossed.