Apr 08, 11
Read in April, 2011
I really enjoyed this contemporary novel but if you peruse the GoodReads reviews you'll quickly see that not all readers shared this point of view. So, I'll lay my prejudices on the table:
. . . I enjoy reading almost anything set in an academic environment;
. . . I am looking for a reading "diet" that includes more than books written before 1960 and/or light mysteries;
. . . I am intrigued by the concept of La Belle Dame Sans Merci (literally, the beautiful woman without mercy); and,
. . . I like the exploration and exposition of the creative process.
So, that said, this was a satisfying, two-day read for me. The principal characters were not necessarily original, but intrigued me anyway. The femme fatale was so similar to the title character in another novel (Apprentice to the Flower Poet Z)that she must be based upon a familiar "star" in the academic world. Whether that is the case or not is irrelevant, but it amused me to read about a glamorous empty vessel sweeping onto campus for a term as a major fellow. Many reviewers complained that this comedy was not amusing, but her character provided me with enough smirks and smiles to satisfy.
But the most interesting facet of the book for me was Lurie's exploration of art. If you are a reader who likes a book to leave you with a question or subject for further thought---this book achieved that objective for me. What inspires creativity?