Holly Weiss's Reviews > The Blind Contessa's New Machine

The Blind Contessa's New Machine by Carey Wallace
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Aug 29, 10

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Read from August 23 to 29, 2010

"Quintessential Prose Floats Over the World of the Sightless"

Carolina, a newly engaged woman surrounded by the beauty of a 19th century Italian villa, revels in her daydreams until she realizes she is going blind. Her family worries if their villa’s shady garden can sustain a grove of lemon trees while Carolina observes rather than fears her encroaching blindness.

Ironically, Carey Wallace’s evocative prose is awash with images that invite the eye to retrace many a sentence. The author then masterfully invites us into the world of the sightless with descriptions of the other senses spilling over each page. “The woods chatter.” “The insect’s strong body beat against her eyelids.” “Sugar. She lifted her finger from her tongue.” Under Wallace’s pen, Carolina experiences the world so clearly, we are stunned to discover that she needs a writing machine. I need not comment about the love story in the plot as other reviewers have. Frankly, plot was quite secondary in this reader’s mind to the perception of how well Carolina lived in her dark world. When her other senses do not give her enough, she wills her dreams to take her to places where she can envision what she loves.

This extraordinary debut novel moved me with its insight and eloquence. I disagree with the review that cited blindness as being the central idea in the book. I found the novel remarkably illuminating and an absolute delight to read.

Reviewed by Holly Weiss, author of Crestmont
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