Monday, January 12, 2009

Review - A Rare and Curious Gift

Here is the Amazon review:

The quest to possess beauty drives this debut historical novel, which borrows from the life of Artemisia Gentileschi, a gifted painter of the Italian Renaissance who was one of the first women to gain recognition as an artist in her own right. Holdstock's heroine is Sofonisba, daughter of the painter Orazio Fabroni. At 17, Sofonisba is taking on more and more of her father's work, attempting to cultivate her own talent. Her passions are aroused by the scruffy, swashbuckling sculptor Matteo Tassi, whose wandering and carefree ways suit her independent nature. When an exotic slave with freakish, piebald skin enters the lives of these artists, their fascination with the slave as an object of both beauty and repulsion sets off a spiraling chain of events that leads many to believe the girl is a curse upon the town. The book's exploration of passion, jealousy and ambition is underlaid by riveting, macabre descriptions of human dissections witnessed by its artist protagonists. Holdstock's vivid, unflinching tale doesn't sugarcoat the casual brutality of the period, and is punctuated by startling moments of beauty.

The reviews on Amazon equaled 2.5 stars.

I got this book at our bookclub gift exchange. There were some parts that I couldn't stop reading, and other parts that I had to force myself to read..........others that I skipped altogether. There was alot of detail, too much at times.

I mostly enjoyed it though. It is the first book of this type that I have read, and I do want to read more. I liked feeling like I was going back in time and wondering how people lived and how I would have faired in those times.

I did get pretty angry at one point, but I can't talk about it without giving a key part of the story away. It had to do with the court punishment, I just couldn't believe it!!

The end was very abrubt. It was like the author just decided she was done writing.

In all this book did peak my interest in that time period, and I will be finding more books like it.

1 comment:

Amanda said...

What an interesting book! Great one for the art history challenge. Thanks for the review!