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review 2013-10-14 15:08
The Other Language
The Other Language - Francesca Marciano

You know when someone you don't know very well regales you with tales of when they went 'travelling'? And rather than recognising them as some funny holiday stories, they treat their 'experience' as a higher calling that completely altered their outlook on life? And you know how all this is usually when you're trying to squeeze out of the kitchen at a below average house party?


Well, that.


Except this time it's not a recently graduated student who's just had a house bought for them in south London, it's a middle aged Italian woman.


The Other Language isn't terrible in the slightest. It's not her, it's me. The short stories are well written and often begin quite intriguingly. I just don't think that I'm its target audience.


Roman female has strained relationship with siblings/partner, event occurs that seems small but leads to seismic change. Often away from home. Repeat x 9.


Maybe it's all too subtle for me. I'm not the biggest fan of short stories anyway, but while I like the writing, I just can't warm to the stories at all. Nothing of any interest grabs me. I've got other things I want to be reading.




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review 2010-07-09 00:00
The End of Manners: A Novel - Francesca Marciano Maria Gallante was a photojournalist; she had a nervous breakdown and now photographs food-porn for a living. One day, her agent calls her; he wants her back in journalism, and he wants her to go to Kabul to photograph young women who have chosen self-immolation over arranged marriage. She does. Moral dilemmas abound.

I don't know how I feel about this novel: Is it a half-hearted attempt or just too reserved? The scenery could use a little fleshing out, but then, the inability to do just that is sort of the point. Characters could be developed better, but to do that, you would have to know them well, and the point seems to be that you can never know them well enough. Reading this novel was not what I would call an 'enjoyable' experience, but novels that force us into examinations of conscience rarely are. I can't stop thinking about it, and I feel compelled to put it back in the 'to read' pile.

This novel has left me with a lot of questions; questions like: what do I want from a novel? What do I want from the news that I read? Have I started treating novels and news like products to be consumed instead of sources of artistic and factual enlightenment? When did that happen and how do I stop?


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review 2009-12-28 00:00
Rules of the Wild: A Novel of Africa - Francesca Marciano Elle magazine compared this book to The English Patient but I, respectfully, must disagree. This isn't to say Rules of the Wild isn't a wonderfully enjoyable read -- it just doesn't have the same sense of poetry or plot that The English Patient has. Rules of the Wild is more of a beach read, a little bit of escapist fiction set in Kenya featuring international ex-pats, drugs and alcohol, and a fringe of romance.
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