Source: From publisher for review
Moving from Paris to Italy to North America, a sensuous, heartbreaking novel about art, beauty, star-crossed lovers, and the choices that define our lives, from the award winning author of Summer Gone
A young man arrives in Paris in 1968, where a series of unlikely events lead him to a tiny village in Italy—and to the great love of his life. A marble merchant meets a couple on their honeymoon, introducing them to the sensual beauty of Carrara. An Italian woman travels to Canada on an odyssey to find the father she never knew. A terrible accident in a marble quarry changes the course of a young boy’s life and, ultimately, sets in motion each of these stories, which David Macfarlane masterfully chisels into a magnificent whole.
Oliver Hughson falls in love with wild, bohemian Anna over the course of one glorious summer in Italy. Bound by a sense of responsibility to his adoptive parents, he leaves her and returns home—an act he will regret for the rest of his life. Through luck or fate, Oliver had found the woman with whom he was meant to be. And now he must try to find his way back to her.
Narrated by the daughter Oliver never knew he had, The Figures of Beauty is a love story of mythic proportions that reminds us of the powerful bond that can connect two people indelibly across oceans and time.My thoughts:
The book is centered around sculpture, particularly marble sculpture. You travel through different time periods all which interconnect in some way through marble. The lush language puts you in Italy where most of the book takes place. In any time period, you can really travel with this author's words.
The story mostly follows Oliver, his doomed love story and his daughter. There are also references to artists, in particular Michelangelo as well as Anna (Oliver's lover and his daughter's mother) a present day non-figurative sculpture artist. The ventures back in time especially the ones in the 40s were intriguing but the time shifts just didn't come together for me. Yes, I did see a connection, but as an observer it didn't connect to me personally. It may be due to shifting constantly through time or that I never developed a connection to Oliver and his daughter. I think that if a book was made more about the past and it was constant, I think I would have enjoyed this book much more.
I give this book 2 1/2 stars. It is beautiful in the descriptions of the places, it has some interesting secondary characters, but I just didn't quite connect to much in this book. I would pick up a book by this author because of the beautiful writing, but this one didn't quite come together for me in the end.
I always struggle with shifts through time Melissa, I'm not quite sure why. I get all out of sorts when I'm bounced between past and present, so I'm not sure this is a book that would work for me, and clearly it was an issue for you as well. Thanks for your thoughts!ReplyDelete
It depends on how it is handled, but in this case I think it was a detriment.Delete
Yeah, the constant time-shifting just wouldn't work for me, either, especially when it dims the connection with the characters.ReplyDelete
It did for me, but his writing is beautiful!Delete
I feel like if I end up liking the constant time-shifting and the author makes it work in context to the story and it isn't too confusing I can probably find it in myself to enjoy this one. That being said, I still don't know if it would work for me,either.ReplyDelete
It wasn't confusing but it just didn't work for me. It might work for someone else!Delete
Hmm..while I like learning about historical figures in historical fiction the constant time shifting makes me weary of picking this one up.ReplyDelete
I did love the historical parts. I do think I would read another book by this author though! :)Delete
I think there are parts of this that I would love and find fascinating. At the same time I'm not sure I could stick with it! It seems like it would probably get pretty dry in some parts.ReplyDelete
I can't say that the book screams read me ;)ReplyDelete
This wouldn't be for me at all though it does sound like the author got settings spot on (and beautifully captured) :)ReplyDelete
That is an interesting set up for it. What's the one that follows the painting kind of like that. Oh it has been a long day and my brain just won't jump in and help me with that. lol Too bad it didn't flow quite right to make that connect for ya.ReplyDelete
You know, I don't think I've have ever read or listened to a story like this before, to be honest, I wouldn't even know what genre to put that cover in, it does sounds like an interesting premise, sorry it didn't work you :(ReplyDelete
This sounds like it could be pretty good. Time-shits like that don't usually bother me. Actually, I like them. But only if done well. Hope your next book is better.ReplyDelete
yeah I'm not sure I would have connect either. Sorry it wasn't really for you.ReplyDelete
I've always wanted to go to Italy, so it seems like Macfarlane's writing might be a good substitute, well other than your inability to connect with the actual book that is. Too bad.ReplyDelete
Carmel @ Rabid Reads
Sounds like this is a novel that has a lot to offer, its a shame that it didn't quite connect.ReplyDelete
I don't really like stories that go back and forth in time. It just doesn't sit well with me. I can't make a connection with the characters that way. Beautiful writing is a huge plus, but only when there are other things in play. Sorry this didn't work out.ReplyDelete
sorry you didn't connect as well even with the beautiful descriptionsReplyDelete
I have never really read a book about a marble sculpture. This seems very interesting.ReplyDelete