My true loves: Wilkie Collins, Leo Tolstoy, Fyodor Dostoevsky, Anais Nin, George Eliot, James Joyce, James Baldwin, George Orwell, Oscar Wilde, bell hooks, Chinua Achebe, Langston Hughes, William Shakespeare... I'm falling for : Italo Calvino, Toni Morrison, Frantz Fanon, Wole Soyinka, Ralph Ellison, Zora Neale Hurston, Albert Camus, Margaret Atwood, Somerset Maugham, Junot Diaz, A.S. Byatt... And the lists continue to grow! I will read almost anything, as long as it's well-written. I always love to expand my reading horizons.
“Do you like being a mystery?” he asked. “Are you doing this intentionally?”
“Sometimes I’m a mystery to myself.”
First, I’d like to thank Adria for sending me a free copy of her novel.
I enjoyed this read a lot. It’s set in the vignette style that I really like when it comes to fiction. It starts off as individual stories we are introduced to, and we see how they soon intertwine and become part of a larger tapestry.
And the characters: what a diverse bunch! As unlikeable as a couple of them were it was fascinating to encounter such a varied group. They were people going through real things all against the backdrop of the romantic Paris. It made me think about how everyone has a story, everyone has issues that they are dealing with that we never get to know. Getting to know more about the characters as the story progressed, trying to figure out how they are all connected was definitely fun; the unhappy mother of teens, the cheated-on girlfriend, the has-been actor, the child searching for secrets about his birth mother, to name a few. Very intriguing stories but believable at the same time.
It’s also a very “human” novel, i.e. one that tells human stories. And that’s what resonated with me while reading this book, the idea of stories, fears, trying to mask that fear by different methods, including affairs and such, having unmet dreams and desires.
As it’s France there’s a lot of what one would expect; romance, cafes, secrets, love affairs and art:
“Mira took this in with excited, inquisitive eyes, but she didn’t ask Septime to show her how to become an artist. Even back then, she realized that would have been silly. She quickly understood that she needed to find the way within herself. And she realized she wanted to paint, but not those obscure images that Septime created with such flair. Mira wanted to tell a story. She wanted to reproduce everyday experiences. She yearned to paint life.”
And stories yet again:
“But he was different from the others in the room. He had more of a story to tell. Mira could see it in his gaze when it rose now and again, as if seeking sanctuary through the slanted skylights overhead. He was too fragile. Like the butterflies she never tried to catch.”
A simple yet elegant read. Highly recommended!