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The Innamorati [Paperback]

Midori Snyder
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Jan. 1 2000 Innamorati
The frustrated in love know it, the barren women, the silent poets, the lustful priests--all those who suffer from cursed lives. By ones and twos, in carriages, on horseback, on foot, they flock to the Maze at the heart of the city Labirinto.

Five pilgrims, with their enemies, their drinking buddies, and their chance-met companions, journey across a richly imagined Renaissance Italy alive with adventures and magic, to meet in the great Labyrinth. Their adventures grow ever more baroque, comical, and magical, until they reach the heart of the Maze, and perhaps, their hearts' desire.

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From Publishers Weekly

In the Italian city of Labirinto, there is a Maze where all can find their heart's desire. There are only two problems: getting in, and getting out. In the world of this new novel from Midori (The Flight of Michael McBride), masks talk and sea nymphs and satyrs walk beside the classical personae of the Commedia dell'Arte?than whom none could be more ribald, mischievous and all-too-human. The patter is delicious as characters trade insults or love coos, all worthy of Moliere. The plot is as intricate as an old Gozzi scenario or one of Plautus's domestic farces, full of scoundrels, fools, lovers ("innamorati") and braggarts getting in one another's way as they converge on the Maze to lift their various curses. The Maze, for its moral and psychological resonances, is reminiscent of Charles G. Finney's 1935 classic, The Circus of Dr. Lao. Of many interlocking subplots, one involves the forced collaboration of a voiceless siren and a poet who has muted his poetic vice to practice law; they plead for comfort before the severed head of Orpheus. Another plot pairs a stuttering actor and a mask maker's myopic daughter as innamorati as they free each other through the Maze. The mask maker herself enters the Maze and joins bloodthirsty, reveling Bacchae to throw off the curse of her faithless lover. It's fairly miraculous how Snyder pulls all this off; she does, though. The hybrid of street theater and fantasy seems to spin itself into existence before the reader's eyes. Farts, decapitations and sirens' songs are equally likely and equally delightful in this amazing story. Even the few purple passages, which seem clumsy at first, turn out to be quite apt in the fabric of the remarkable whole.
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Library Journal

Cursed by love, revenge, or their own human failings, a maskmaker, poet, priest, actor, peasant girl, and mercenary journey to the city of Labirinto, where a magical maze holds the ability to redeem or destroy them. Set in an alternate Renaissance Italy filled with magic and mystery, Snyder's (The Flight of Michael McBride, Tor, 1995) dreamlike novel resonates with overtones of the commedia dell'arte as her characters confront mythical creatures and nightmarish visions in their search for the secret at the center of the maze. A allegory that is a priority purchase for fantasy collections.
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

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Most helpful customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing Maze of a Deeper Discovery Sept. 5 2002
Format:Paperback
Instantly - I'm there.
"The morning sun rose above the edge of a quiet green sea. Bright rays of light speared the waters of the laguna and transformed the canals of Venice into ribbons of flame. Burnished water splashed over the mossy walls of the canals, scattering droplets the size of sequins..."
This kind of writing gets me everytime, and Midori Snyder has got it. She tantalizes the reader with each word, with every lush phrase, she seduces and entangles into the fantasy world of her labyrinth, and she engrosses mercilessly, leaving the world outside of her written page pale and distant for the time it takes to disentangle oneself from her story and close the book again.
Snyder's fantasy is one of many players, all varied in lifestyle and enchantment, but all alike in that they are somehow cursed. The young actor stutters and cannot speak his lines clearly, though his words ring out when he is feeling unthreatened by other males who remind him of an abusive father figure. The mask-maker suffers torments of thorns inside her belly that tear also at her heart with regret, keeping her masks from taking on their usual aura of life. A swordsman wins battle upon battle, grown calloused to the act of killing, yet finally longs to be free of such a destiny. A siren is cursed to leave the sea and live ten years on the dry earth in utter silence, covered with a leathery skin of ugliness. The poet fails to win the love and loyalty of his philandering wife with his verses and finally loses her. The priest repeatedly falls into a gluttony of sexual pleasures forbidden to him, unable to abstain from such temptation. And there are more. The fantasy is peopled with rich characters, each one more colorful than the next.
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4.0 out of 5 stars almost Chaucerian Nov. 5 2001
Format:Paperback
The setting : Renaissance Italy, various real and fictional cities.
The cast: (and here's the Chaucerian part): A mask-maker artist,
a priest, an actor, a merchant, a thief, a prostitute, a warrior,
a Siren (well.. that's not so Chaucerian). They come from all
walks of life, but all beset by some 'curse'. Thus they
pilgramage to a fictional city with a magical maze to cure
their woes.
The story starts off with very seperate tales.. almost too hard
to follow as Snyder jumps from character to character to follow
their own individual tales. But slowly, they come together
as the routes of a maze come to the center. The story is
enchantingly different from the classical fantasy genre. Magic is
as viewed by old world Italians is amazingly real and quite
different from the magic in our present day stories. It's magic
that is out of our control, that cuts and mends in surprising
unpredictable ways, that is guided and quirky according to the
personality, the moral ground, the intents of the character
involved.

This book is well worth reading... it won the Mythopoeic Fantasy Award!!
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4.0 out of 5 stars Delicious Comedic Fantasy Oct. 17 2000
By A Customer
Format:Hardcover
Join a group of artists, performers, lovers and thieves to the maze in Labirinto. Along the way try on elaborate masks and find one that reveals your deepest desires. The characters burst with color and charisma. The food is mouthwatering and the scenery dazzling. You won't put the Innamorati down until you reach the center of the maze. Midori Snyder touches all emotions and leaves you hungering for more.
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4.0 out of 5 stars entertaining allegory; some few awkwardnesses Aug. 31 2000
Format:Paperback
Entertaining allegory about the masks we wear [for good or for ill], and the curses that we carry with us. The writing is uneven, but the awkwardnesses [for example, I wish the editor had taken a red pen to all those frequent and irrelevant descriptions of food] are far outweighed by the extraordinary and touching moments.
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4.0 out of 5 stars A funny well written fantasy. May 29 2000
Format:Paperback
Lots of: Magic (creatures, gods, spells)
Sex (mostly sexual references and jokes)
Food (described in minute detail that will leave you drooling even if you read it 5 minutes after Thanksgiving dinner)
Very funny and original, my only 2 complaints are that there are too many characters and some of their names are simillar like Rinaldo and Roberto, kind of confusing; and it has a liteness about it like if you took out the sex it could be a children's book.
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4.0 out of 5 stars A Breath of Fresh Air March 14 2000
Format:Paperback
It's rare to discover a fantasy novel that breaks new ground in the genre, and a delight to be able to forgo comparisons with Tolkien. The Innamorati, by Midori Snyder, is such a novel.
It is said that to enter the great maze at the center of the city of Labirinto, one can lose any curse that might haunt them. Thus begins the story of The Innamorati, and from the first page the reader will find himself engrossed in Ms. Snyder's story and unwilling to stop turning the pages.
The Innamorati, set against the backdrop of Renaissance Italy, centers on no single protagonist, but instead chronicles the bête noirs that haunt a number of co-protagonists. Ms. Snyder has deftly taken the concept often used in television today - several sub-plots within a single episode, each mini-story tied to an appropriate character - and adapted it for The Innamorati. Among the co-protagonists: a mask-maker from Venice who can no longer make masks; a swordsman from Milan who wishes to give up the sword that rules his life; a would-be actor who speaks with a stutter; and a siren condemned to a silent exile far from the sea and her native island. There is also a poet, who at one time wrote the most beautiful sonnets, who loses his "voice" upon discovering his wife's infidelity. While Ms. Snyder places far too great a burden on this poet for his wife's infidelity, claiming he failed to provide for her wants (one could argue the wife's inability or unwillingness to accept what her husband was able to provide her - magnificent sonnets written to her and about her - as the impetus for her action), it is a subject best saved for debate and certainly not a flaw.
Ms. Snyder writes with a combination of clarity, wisdom and a playfulness that is rare today.
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