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Download The Bellini Madonna epub

by Elizabeth Lowry

Book by Lowry, Elizabeth
Download The Bellini Madonna epub
ISBN: 1847243649
ISBN13: 978-1847243645
Category: No category
Author: Elizabeth Lowry
Language: English
Publisher: Quercus Books (2008)
ePUB size: 1403 kb
FB2 size: 1538 kb
Rating: 4.7
Votes: 830
Other Formats: lrf docx rtf lrf

I really wanted to like this book. Art, mystery and history - three favorite subjects for me - combined. How could it miss? Well, in several ways. First, Lowry tries too hard with the language. No, I'm not a fan of the modernist plain-brown-wrapper English. I like the use of sophisticated language, but not for it's own sake. The book is far too wordy, too descriptive. She could have trimmed off 15-20 percent and had not a lesser work, but a more concentrated text with more powerful effect.
On the other hand, the detailing of the characters is superb. We see the characters not only by description, but also by the dialog: "You're a stupid blind bastard, all right," says Anna. Those last two words tell us her class, her personality. The characters' talk is what brings them alive; the vast sea of prose between dialogue smothers them. And the narrator himself is nuanced. He sees people in one light and gradually shifts his opinion, not unlike seeing real people in changing light, getting a more accurate understanding of them. This is so much like real life, wherein our opinions of others transform over time, fill out as we learn more about them. This adds to the text, but Lowry does this so skillfully, the extra words are well worth the trouble.
The plot is suitably complex, but the ending is a fizzle. The book could have ended far earlier - probably when the hero drives off from the mansion; or a small coda could have been added on to that point in the novel. Not only would this have shortened what unfortunately became the 'task' of reading, but the ending would have had emotional impact. As it stands now, it does not.
Overall, though I find praiseworthy some of the writing, there is too much that is flawed. If this were not her first novel, I would give it two stars; but for a first novel, I think it does well, and I expect - and hope - for a second novel much improved over this one. She certainly is a promising writer.
Humorously written with vivid descriptive passages. I'm not through it yet but I'm so happy to finally have a well written and funny! book that I had to share early. Reading other reviews I would agree with "From Elder" much more than any of the others.
As other reviewers have noted, the prose in this book is tortured and it is a long haul to the end (which is not particularly satisfying). It has a few moments where the story becomes interesting, but they are too few and too far between. I think Ms. Lowry's next novel may be better as she hones her craft, but she needs a better editor. All in all, I would give this one a pass.
In September of 1506, or so the story goes, Albrecht Durer, the famed German artist, writes a letter to a friend regarding a visit on his second trip to Italy to the workshops of Giovanni Bellini. He found the Old Master in his workshop painting a very different and startling Madonna, a last aging Madonna. She seems weary and tired stripped of her religious gildings, sitting with an empty lap.

Enter Thomas Lynch, a quirky art historian with a doctorate on Bellini altarpieces, former professor of fine arts at a small Vermont College, now middle-aged. He has been searching for this last and lost Bellini for ten years. Lynch has found in a 1972 catalog a minor Victorian art collector, one James Roper VI, whose Italian wife has inherited an uncataloged Madonna attributed to the workshop of Bellini; he wrangles an invitation to Mawle, the 17th century manor home in the Berkshires of the present-day Ropers. Most of the story centers at Mawle. We meet Maddalena, the often-absent mistress of the house: her daughter Anna, a free spirit, a young girl named Vicky, a second cousin, twice removed from the Italian side of the family; a yokel gardener who pries bottle top with his front teeth.

When he's not reclining on a deck chair on the south lawn in a "calf-length maroon paisley dressing gown with corded waist and starched black cuffs," Lynch searches the large and rambling mansion for the lost Bellini. He finds Roper's diary revealing a trip to Asolo in 1889 in a trunk in a small dressing room; Anna gives him the family Bible. There are many well-written fantasy scenes provoked by Roper's Italian remembrances.

Elizabeth Lowry's debut novel, THE BELLINI MADONNA needs a bit of editing. If we delete Lynch's childhood dalliance with a Catholic priest, wash out Anna's mouth with soap, and remove most of Lynch's lecherous thoughts, we'll have a pretty decent lost art mystery. Lowry has a tremendous vocabulary and an immense grasp of the Italian fin de sicle period of the 19th century.

Oh, the recipe for roast asparagus is in the hardcover edition, page 249.