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Love of a Stonemason [Paperback]

Christa Polkinhorn

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Book Description

July 1 2010 Family Portrait
The young painter, Karla Bocelli, is all too familiar with loss. When she was five years old, her mother died in a car crash in the south of Switzerland. Her Peruvian father lives at the other end of the world, and a year ago, her aunt and guardian passed away. Now, at age twenty-four, Karla almost gets hit by a speeding car. As if this wasn't fateful enough, Andreas, the driver, turns out to be a sculptor and carver of tombstones. In spite of his profession, Andreas is anything but morbid. Quick-tempered and intense, he exudes a rough-and-tumble energy. After a tumultuous start of their relationship, Karla comes to see in Andreas the "rock in her life," the perfect antidote to her fears of abandonment and bouts of depression. Andreas, however, wrestles with his own ghosts: an alcoholic father who abused him as a child and his own fits of anger. Together, the two artists must confront the demons that haunt them. Love of a Stonemason is a story about the struggle of two artists with their past, their family, their creativity, and their love for each other. Told from the point of view of Karla, it depicts the world through her painter's sensibility. It takes the reader on a journey full of sights, smells, tastes, and sounds from the south of Switzerland to Italy and the Peruvian Andes.

Product Details

  • Paperback: 446 pages
  • Publisher: Createspace (July 1 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1453662286
  • ISBN-13: 978-1453662281
  • Product Dimensions: 21.6 x 14 x 2.5 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 590 g
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #2,147,170 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

About the Author

Born and raised in Switzerland, Christa Polkinhorn has always had the desire to explore the world outside of her beautiful but tiny country. As a young woman, she traveled through Europe, came to the United States on an exchange program, and ended up staying. Her travels led her to China and Japan as well as South America. She studied literature and linguistics in Zurich and California. Now, she lives and works as writer and translator in southern California and divides her time between the United States and her native Switzerland. The tension and excitement this "double life" creates informs her literary work. Most of her novels take place in several countries. Aside from writing and traveling, Christa is an avid reader and a lover of the arts and dark chocolate.

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4.4 out of 5 stars  26 reviews
19 of 20 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Kindleobsessed Review Sept. 10 2010
By Misty Baker - Published on
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I was in therapy the other day (aka web-surfing for mindless crap) and ran across a quote that sent off a flare in my mind. For the past couple of days I have been reading Christa Polkinhorn's debut novel "Love of a Stonemason" and try as I might, I couldn't peg a witty or otherwise enchanting way of wording its message, and then I ran into this...

"I don't pretend to know what love is for everyone, but I can tell you what it is for me; love is knowing all about someone, and still wanting to be with them more than any other person, love is trusting them enough to tell them everything about yourself, including the things you might be ashamed of, love is feeling comfortable and safe with someone, but still getting weak knees when they walk into a room and smile at you."

This is exactly what Polkinhorn's novel is all about, the struggle to overcome your demons and let love flood in.

Karla is an artist, but like most magicians with a canvas her talents come at a cost. At the age of 5 Karla lost her mother, and with it went her peace. Andreas is also an artist, but instead of painting he carves tombstones. Both have issues, both are looking for closure, and in a ironic turn of fate (or an inability to look where they are going) they are about to meet, but will their instant connection be enough to keep them together? With depression, and anger waiting in the wings Karla and Andreas are forced to make a decision... face their pasts together, or live their hells alone.

A few days ago I was dreading having to write this review. I was 20% in and bored (which is never a good sign) but luckily my inability to toss a book (regardless of how crappy) kicked in and I pushed through. I'm very glad I didn't give up. While I undoubtedly enjoyed the first few chapters of this novel, my patience began to wear thin when the focus of the novel shifted. What I thought was supposed to be a (in the most basic term) "love story" suddenly turned into a long drawn out battle with daddy issues. Thankfully, Polkinhorn's ability to creatively capture the culture, and beauty of her settings added brief moments of reprieve from (an otherwise) excessively wordy section, and enticed the reader to keep moving. After her stint in Peru however, things very quickly got back on track (well... as on track as you can be for throwing depression, abandonment, resentment and infidelity at a couple) and before I knew it I was sucked back in. The writing quality as a whole was wonderful, and Polkinhorn's ability to "write art" was a nice little treat when it was all said in done. Her characters (though written to have a slew of flaws) were nicely detailed, and allowed the reader to indulge in their complexities.

All in all... not bad for a book I initially disliked.

One word of warning however, if this sounds like the book for you, please set aside the appropriate amount of time to read it. It is not an easy read, and it is long... so take your time and be prepared to learn some hard lessons.

Happy reading my fellow Kindle-ites and remember: If you plan on writing secret love letters to people, don't leave them on the table for everyone to see... that just screams FAIR GAME!

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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Artistically and psychologically convincing. Aug. 17 2010
By bandcandy - Published on
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
For me, the best of this book was the artistic journey through Europe and beyond and the author's genuine understanding of what it is to be an artist. In Karla, the painter, we are presented with a flawed but complex character. Andreas,the stonemason, likewise has his own demons to fight; however, I found the book more psychologically interesting because both the main characters are battling with the problems of their own personalities as well as their challenging life-experiences. This is a book for a weekend, a holiday or a winter's evening when you really want something to get your teeth into.
11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A compelling love story across borders June 5 2010
By Mirjam - Published on
Format:Kindle Edition
When the young talented painter, Karla Bocelli, almost gets hit by a speeding car, she receives a painful reminder of that fateful accident in her childhood, which robbed her of her mother and made her a semi-orphan. The fact that the driver of the car is a stonemason and sculptor, who carves tombstones for a living, doesn't exactly lift Karla's spirits. The fateful initial encounter sets the stage for a turbulent and passionate relationship. "Love of a Stonemason" takes the reader on a journey of the heart from Switzerland to Italy and Peru. It is rich with sensuous details and vibrant colors. As we watch Karla and Andreas struggle with their past, their creativity and their feelings for each other, we root for them and hope that they succeed. A heartwarming and fascinating story. I can highly recommend it.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Love around the world May 6 2010
By Cornboy - Published on
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Christa Polkinhorn's debut takes the reader on a journey of the heart across several lands. Vivid portraits of Europe and South America will sweep you to those exotic locales and have you experiencing the vibrancy of different cultures. But the heart of the story is the love between a man and woman, with all the challenges and triumphs, successes and failures, as well as the creative journeys of the two main characters. Highly recommended.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A true "vacation" book May 15 2011
By Linda Cassidy Lewis - Published on
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Reading Christa Polkinhorn's Love of a Stonemason is an inner visual experience. Not only will you "see" locales in Switzerland, Peru, and Italy, but also, because her main characters are artists, you'll feel you've toured a gallery of paintings and sculpture.

Karla, the painter, and Andreas, the stonemason, meet in what at first appears to be a typical romance plot device, but it's not. These characters have depth, which the author portrays with sensitivity and realism. The darkness in their pasts threatens the relationship they form. Their torments and troubles drew me in. At times, I wanted to comfort them; at others, I wanted to smack Karla or shake Andreas.

Just when Karla finally faces the last of her demons and deals with it, Andreas' personal hell erupts with full force. Each time, as these characters stumbled, I thought I knew what would come next, but I rarely did.

The author weaves the threads of her story into a beautiful tapestry. This debut novel is a worthwhile read and almost doubles as a vacation escape. Well done.

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