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Thursday, 30 December 2010

Book notes No. 39 : In the Company of the Courtesan, Sarah Dunant

Blue skies veiled in haze. The communal water-tap is frozen solid.

I must have read hundreds and hundreds of novels. Hundreds. I've leant my interior ear to narrators male and female. I've heard stories from school teachers, paedophiles, butchers, bakers and candlestick makers, artists, murderers, criminals and innocents, from God, angels, Death and the Devil. I've been confused by rotating narrators and annoyed by first person narrators who die against the rules.

But I've never, never read a novel in which the narrator is a dwarf. And I have never, never learned so much about life as a dwarf in such a pleasurable way. 

Dunant's enthralling novel begins in 1527 with our heroine, a successful courtesan, fleeing the Sack of Rome with her friend and fixer Bucino, the dwarf in question. Together they start again from scratch with only the gems they have managed to swallow during their escape. In Venice.

Lisa Hilton of the Sunday Telegraph wrote that this is a "loving, intricate portrait of Venice - a city which [sic] magics light, glass and water into living entities - her story blends beauty and brutality into an intimate and thrilling portrait of an age". 

Yes, indeed. Yes, of course. But Bucino. Bucino's the thing. His viewpoint (at thigh height). His emotions, his pain, his vulnerabilities, his sensibilities, his strength and his tragedy. 

Come and visit La Serenissima at the height of her powers, meet Fiammetta the courtesan at the height of hers, and Bucino the dwarf testing his. You'll be glad you did.


4 comments:

V. said...

Love novels about Venice. Can't get enough of them for some reason. Fascinating place.

ladyfi said...

Definitely have to check this out. I can highly recommend a book by Per Lagerkvist called Dvärgen or The Dwarf in English. A chilling portrait indeed!

Louise | Italy said...

Thanks - I'll look it up!

Bev said...

Auguri Louise!! Happy New Year.

I visited Venice again just this October and I loooove that place. The book must have an interesting perspective to say the least.

Thursday, 30 December 2010

Book notes No. 39 : In the Company of the Courtesan, Sarah Dunant

Blue skies veiled in haze. The communal water-tap is frozen solid.

I must have read hundreds and hundreds of novels. Hundreds. I've leant my interior ear to narrators male and female. I've heard stories from school teachers, paedophiles, butchers, bakers and candlestick makers, artists, murderers, criminals and innocents, from God, angels, Death and the Devil. I've been confused by rotating narrators and annoyed by first person narrators who die against the rules.

But I've never, never read a novel in which the narrator is a dwarf. And I have never, never learned so much about life as a dwarf in such a pleasurable way. 

Dunant's enthralling novel begins in 1527 with our heroine, a successful courtesan, fleeing the Sack of Rome with her friend and fixer Bucino, the dwarf in question. Together they start again from scratch with only the gems they have managed to swallow during their escape. In Venice.

Lisa Hilton of the Sunday Telegraph wrote that this is a "loving, intricate portrait of Venice - a city which [sic] magics light, glass and water into living entities - her story blends beauty and brutality into an intimate and thrilling portrait of an age". 

Yes, indeed. Yes, of course. But Bucino. Bucino's the thing. His viewpoint (at thigh height). His emotions, his pain, his vulnerabilities, his sensibilities, his strength and his tragedy. 

Come and visit La Serenissima at the height of her powers, meet Fiammetta the courtesan at the height of hers, and Bucino the dwarf testing his. You'll be glad you did.


4 comments:

V. said...

Love novels about Venice. Can't get enough of them for some reason. Fascinating place.

ladyfi said...

Definitely have to check this out. I can highly recommend a book by Per Lagerkvist called Dvärgen or The Dwarf in English. A chilling portrait indeed!

Louise | Italy said...

Thanks - I'll look it up!

Bev said...

Auguri Louise!! Happy New Year.

I visited Venice again just this October and I loooove that place. The book must have an interesting perspective to say the least.