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Chaconne

4.25  ·  Rating details ·  16 ratings  ·  11 reviews
In 1981, with the Cold War intensifying, a young Australian woman goes to Paris in pursuit of love with a bourgeois communist – though her idea of revolution has more to do with the early music movement than politics. At odds with her background and also with herself, she hides her gift for singing from the world. In Paris her naïve and romantic expectations soon crumble, ...more
Paperback, 304 pages
Published November 1st 2017 by Hybrid Publishers
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Average rating 4.25  · 
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Eugenie Edquist
Jun 12, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Chaconne is a vivid, complex pleasure, worth reading for the richness of the prose alone. The chaos of a Marxist cell in a Parisian protest march, the frenetic efficiency of an American army base, soft blue skies glimpsed through German fir-trees and the shimmering heat-haze of the Australian South Coast are all evoked with a poetic precision that does exactly what fiction ought to: Blackwood's writing engrosses and transports, imbuing a surprising and moving story with a dead-on sensory dynamis ...more
J.W. Garton
May 11, 2018 rated it really liked it
Diana Blackwood’s excellent debut novel “Chaconne” explores the inner life of a young Australian woman, Eleanor Weston, on an odyssey to Europe. Eleanor’s ambition is to achieve her hopes and dreams in a life shared with the French boyfriend she met in Sydney. She is intelligent, intellectual, passionate, and has a great love of music. While the novel is set mostly in France and Germany, there is no mistaking Eleanor’s Australian identity in her response to her experiences as a “colonial” explor ...more
Tracy
Dec 12, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Diana Blackwood has written a well-crafted and poignant coming-of-age story. Eleanor is a highly intelligent, damaged young woman. Abandoned by her father as a child and with an absent mother, Eleanor is left rudderless, suffering from a ‘fuzzy sense of being shut out of her proper story, as if she had failed at youth, been found wanting by life itself’. Eleanor runs away to Europe to find passion and pursue the romance of a new and refined life far from her mother and ‘all the dreary people who ...more
Lisa
Oct 25, 2017 rated it really liked it
What a pleasure it is to read Chaconne, the debut novel of Canberra author Diana Blackwood! There’s a serious coming-of-age story here, but the book is laced with delicious puns and droll set pieces and I loved the way Blackwood has subverted the clichés of the Romantic Paris genre.
She dressed neatly enough for Café Obertor and put on her walking shoes. While she was tying the laces, it occurred to her that any Parisian veneer she might have acquired was already slipping away. She no longer fel/>
She
...more
Irene Ulman
Feb 27, 2018 rated it really liked it
In 'Chaconne', Diana Blackwood captures that uniquely Australian experience of living and loving, precariously, between continents. Eleanor Weston is an Australian woman who uses Europe as an escape route and a rite of passage, transiting into adulthood in a foreign country, and in a foreign language. This is her story of self-discovery through trial and error, set in the 80s, when AIDS is on the rise and the nuclear winter is the overarching global threat. Eleanor is a romantic (at first) but a ...more
Maria
Dec 03, 2018 rated it really liked it
Diana Blackwood’s "Chaconne" is an engaging and beautifully written story of a musically gifted young Australian woman, Eleanor, who travels to Paris in 1981 to pursue a love affair.

Her experience of relationships and French life and, later, of a village in Germany, against a background of feminism, communism and the shadow of the Cold War, is told in fresh and evocative language, often using musical imagery.

Eleanor’s idiosyncrasies, her grammar pedantry and assertive convictions ab
...more
Sue Jose
Nov 28, 2017 rated it really liked it
In her first novel, Diana Blackwood brings together music; politics, both personal and end of Cold War global; linguistics; a strong sense of time and place and an emerging concern about the environment. Eleanor is a young woman whose journey from Australia to Europe to follow love is not one so much of personal discovery as of being shown herself by others. At times Eleanor's almost 'doormat' lack of decision and action in the face of her treatment by the men she thinks she loves, made this rea ...more
Sue
Feb 25, 2018 rated it really liked it
Does a book set in the early 1980s qualify as historical fiction? Does a book about a twenty-something woman’s romantic adventures, and search for direction, qualify as coming-of-age? The answer is probably yes to both. Certainly, it is within these parameters that it’s appropriate to discuss Diana Blackwood’s debut novel Chaconne. For my full review, please see my blog: https://whisperinggums.com/2018/02/24...
Margaret Ann Spence
Jul 04, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Eleanor Weston is a young Australian woman who, in 1981, goes to Paris to be with her French boyfriend, a student and a “Communist” who, she soon realizes, still lives in bourgeois comfort with his parents. He disappoints. Eventually, Eleanor goes to Germany with another suitor, an American. Sadly, for Eleanor, but not for the story, her taste in men has not improved.

Set towards the end of the Cold War and at its very heart in the NATO countries, Chaconne is in some ways an elegy for a Europe t
...more
Caroline
rated it it was amazing
Mar 29, 2018
Lynn
Nov 27, 2017 rated it really liked it
To be honest, this book really isn’t even close to my usual reading material, which generally involves more spaceships, unicorns and/or zombies. I was more than a little hesitant to embark on something distinctly more literary. However, I’m pleased I did.
I was caught up in the story pretty quickly, and thoroughly enjoyed going on this journey with Eleanor. Beautifully written with just enough sprinkles of humour.
Anne Tennock
Apr 09, 2019 rated it really liked it
I find Diana Blackwood's prose a pleasure to read. Particularly was fascinated by her main character's musical journey. I felt a world open to me that I had never glimpsed.
Janet D.
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Sep 16, 2018
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