A sparkling satirical novel from the acclaimed author of The House on Moon Lake. A would-be journalist attempts to track down an elusive literary star in the topsy-turvy world of pre-glasnost Eastern Europe and encounters literary apparatchiks, bugged telephones, a pure-spirited poet (with whom she promptly falls in love), and lots of rumors....
|Title||:||Personal Effects: A Novel|
|Number of Pages||:||152 Pages|
|Status||:||Available For Download|
|Last checked||:||21 Minutes ago!|
Personal Effects: A Novel Reviews
The saga of an Italian woman who finds herself suddenly divorced at age 30. Her marriage has just ended and she was “used” by her husband in classic ways. He got her not only to learn to use a computer so she could type his dissertation but he even to write much it for him. Then he is off with a beautiful woman he met professionally. Here’s a quote that sets the theme for the book and shows the quality of the writing: “I looked around - around the house and inside my mind - and seemed unable to rest my eyes on anything I could really call my own. I have nothing of my own, I said to myself. Or not enough, in any case. There are not enough things around me to perform the task of protecting me, delimiting me, defining me, to serve as predicate to my subject, to give me a sense of being less - how shall I say – less amorphous.” Our main character is a sometimes journalist and writer, so with her new found independence she goes off on her own for the first time to visit a nearby (unnamed) Slavic country. She is a specialist in Slavic languages. She seeks to find and interview a mysterious Slavic writer who has experienced a meteoric rise in fame. She finds romance (kind of) on her journey. Mostly she writes in her journal and talks to us as if she is still talking to her ex-husband and her mother. Her mother is the opposite of the main character in almost every way imaginable. Another quote I liked: “I suddenly feel as if I’m on familiar ground. I smell an odor of the West in all this trickery. Suddenly the whole world seems to me like one of those family cartons of ice cream of assorted flavors when it begins to melt and all the colors and flavors run together and blend into a single uniform grey.”The book kept my interest --- there’s more plot to it than I sketched above. Duranti is an excellent writer, best known for her 1986 novel, The House on Moon Lake that won several literary prizes.
I was approved of an ARC copy of this novel in exchange for an honest review. This review in its entirety was originally posted at caffeinatedlife.net: http://www.caffeinatedlife.net/blog/2...This novel technically has all of the elements that I normally enjoy in a story: a character on the road to reclaiming something for herself, travelling to another country, Eastern Europe. And yet somehow it all fell flat for me. I think a large part of it has to do with Valentina never resonating with me as a character. Yes, her life was not very happy and she was in need of a change but her narrative never quite connected with me, hence I did not find myself caring about her character journey or the actual goal that she had in finding Milos Jarco. Even her reflections felt rather cold and distant (which may also be because of the translation and the way the author writes in general) and the narrative never felt comfortable to me. I kept reading only because it was a slim volume and I wanted to know/see if there was any moment along Valentina’s journey where it might turn around my reading experience. Sadly there was no such moment: no passion, no rousing moment of intrigue on my part, not to mention a rather bleak ending. Overall, while the elements of this novel sounded interesting and her time in pre-glasnost Eastern Europe was intriguing, this novel was just not a fit for me, leaving me rather bored and disengaged from events in the story.
"I knew it: our earthly paradise on the island has been annulled; made obsolete. It was only an imaginary meeting point. Our real common denominator is this: a monstrosity, a horror that we decide to transform into a precious earthly possession by an act of will, veiling it in secrecy as in a children's game."A sweet and simple tale of loss and redemption of oneself. This book was written in the author's native Italian and translated to English and you could tell that English was not the native language in many of the passages. Additionally, the thought processes were somewhat different and somehow that made it a bit challenging to get accustomed to, but one into it, the story was very compelling. It is a bit of a mystery story as well - the protagonist tries to track down an author behind the iron curtain to interview him and in the process finds some answers for her own life. Very entertaining little slip of a book at only 152 pages!