Sheila's Reviews > The Whirling Girl

The Whirling Girl by Barbara Lambert
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Mar 29, 2013

it was amazing

The Whirling Girl is wonderfully evocative, with a prose style beautifully matched to its subtle, mysterious subject matter. So much is hidden here - from its protagonist’s past,to the motives of the uncle who leaves her his property in Tuscany, and also the Etruscan artefacts buried on this property.
I was in awe of the author’s deft handling of the complex structure of the novel, but I was especially taken with the language. Lambert is a consummate stylist who manages to capture things and emotions in words both stunningly apt and original.
Claire, the book’s main character, is a botanical artist, and I found Lambert’s style perfectly suited to describing her work and the work of other artists. I also loved the way physical descriptions segue into states of mind:
“Much later — all night — the colours of Nikki’s shadow paintings pooled in Clare’s dreams, and those words ran through the channels of her sleep as if they were the lines of a poem she had forgotten. Terra rosa, moon glow, raw umber.”
Gorgeous.
I was not surprised to learn, from reading an interview with the author, that when asked for the original “spark” that ignited the novel, she made several visual references from “peering into a kaleidoscope” to “an emerald lizard [flashing] across the ceiling beams”.
I loved the way different layers of Clare unfolded, how deeply the author delved into her emotions, motivations and thoughts. Experiencing her personal development was another of the book’s draws for me.
An intriguing story, beautifully told, by an author of outstanding talent.
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