on September 12, 2003
highly recommend this gem to anyone that loves good fiction, can appreciate lyrical language reminiscent of Flaubert (fine chocolate!) and the obsession one carries for their art. It's the story of two ex-pats in Belgium, Adina and Zachary. Adina, in want of fodder for her fiction, heads to Belgium for a year to work as an au pair for a chain-smoking, disillusioned mother, a perpetually drunk father and a child that is wise beyond his years. A chance encounter with a painter, Zachary (who is lead to Belgium by a wealthy cousin who patrons him with a gallery and a premiere exhibition), in a bus in Prague sparks their obsession for one another. A white-haired Adina (her hair mysteriously falls out in the beginning of the novel and grows back white, the absence of color) and a man that can only paint when she is evoked, fall in love with one another or how each other affects their art. Soon, Adina is writing furiously, feverishly. Stories about the body and the mind and their mutual exclusivity and their intricate ties to each other. Zachary murals Adina, his only vision is her. Throughout, Krista is fierce in her philosophy and her prose is never precious, but smart and precise. Each chapter shifts point of view between the two characters and the flow is organic and satisfying. A highly recommended read with an unexpected and climatic ending.
on July 9, 2003
Allright, here's the deal. I haven't actually read this book. As such, one would think it pointless to write an online review right? WRONG! I can at least try to guess what it is about. As young Jeffy tries to find his place among his family, he is reminded of how delicate life is by his sister Dolly. This coming of age book is a timeless example of young siblings trying to come to terms with their odd attraction to each other. It also features some otherworldy characters such as the ghosts of the kids granparents as well as the impish Idaknow and Notme.
Actually, I realize that I'm writing about the Family Circus. Well, I kinda imagine this book to be a lot like that.
on April 7, 2004
Madsen's first-person narrative is more than intense, it is intrepid, a sometimes harsh account of longing/love and how that obsession can spur creative instincts.
The novel also doubles neatly as a mini-travel narrative, expanding beyond the cliche story of a young American abroad and a coming-of-age tale. The subjects are complex: art, love, sex and the mix of European culture with young American ennui.
I read this novel in one night, devouring the prose. Recommend anyone to do the same.
on August 27, 2003
This book was tremendously wonderful. I absorbed it completely from the time I picked it up. I thought it was so intriguing I could hardly put it down. The writing style was magnificent - I haven't read anything that had visual interest in addition, read this book and you will see what I mean. The book flips between two main characters which I loved, it's like 2 parallel universes! Krista Madsen really thought outside the box here - great read!