Paula's Reviews > The Blind Contessa's New Machine

The Blind Contessa's New Machine by Carey Wallace
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Mar 17, 12

bookshelves: fiction
Read from March 04 to 17, 2012

A charming fairy tale of a novel, set in Italy. Era undisclosed but I'd guess 18th century. A beautiful young contessa goes blind. Her frivolous yet tender husband Pietro gives her a singing parakeet while bedding her maid servant (one of whose tasks is to inventively "read" a set of large illustrated books to her mistress); her soulmate, neighbor & eventual lover, the eccentric Turri builds her a writing machine (for the composition of notes of assignation). All "action" revolves around a small lake & cabin built by the contessa's father (meant as a gift to his wife who was born by the sea, but given instead to his daughter when her mother rejected it). Just as the fairy tale begins to become tiresome, the narrative rather abruptly ends. The rest of their lives (one suspects they might not have lived entirely happily ever after)are withdrawn from the reader. Another kind of blindness, inevitable yet unexpected at the same time.
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