Comments: 5
I liked this one as well -- and I love the fact that the paintings are actually included in the book. I'm always a bit wary of "faction" (fictionalized accounts of real persons' lives that take a certain amount of liberty with their subjects), but Scott Chessman's approach -- mostly -- worked for me, too.
Murder by Death 4 months ago
I enjoyed this one too - Scott Chessman handled the exercise of writing about real people better than Oliviera did in I Always Loved You, in my opinion.
When I saw your review of Oliviera's book, I actually thought about asking whether you'd read this one, but eventually figured this might not be the moment (though come to think of it, I might have recommended it before). Obviously the paintings provide for yet another layer of authorial "interpretation" (read: imagination), but what comes through in all of Scott Chessman's writing is her enormous respect for her subjects and the desire to do right by them, however much she may be putting her own spin on these glimpses into their lives -- and she got through to me with that. Well, that and her vivid and poetical descriptions of late 19th century Paris ...
Murder by Death 4 months ago
Yes - and she kept her speculative fiction writing in the realm of subjective interpretation. It's easy for any reader to understand that Scott Chessman's story about Lydia's thoughts, feelings, fears, etc. are subjective imaginings; short of an actual primary source diary, there's no way to know how she felt about anything. As a result the story is easy to engage in. Oliveira, on the other hand, re-wrote factual history in her speculative story telling and as much as the story was beautiful, I had a problem with it. Her work can be too easily mistaken for non-fiction because all the characters and setting are.
EpicFehlReader 4 months ago
I've also been struggling with Oliviera's books over the years. She picks interesting topics, no doubt... and I think that's why I keep trying with her every so often... but man, I struggle with her writing style.