Monday, July 26, 2010

The Book of Human Skin

10 Reasons I love The Book of Human Skin by Michelle Lovric:

  1. It is set in Venice.
  2. ... during the time of Napoleon, so during the period of the demise of the most Serene Republic ~sigh~
  3. It had me googling The White City of Arequipa in Peru.  What a beautiful place - a palazzo to rival St. Mark's, high up in the mountains (7500 feet above sea level and 80 miles from the ocean).  The colonial city was founded in the 1500's.  Turns out this magical spot is also the birthplace of Mario Vargas Llosa.  
  4. Every character gets a chance to tell their point of view - in their own special font!  
  5. The bad guy is really, really bad.  Totally despicable.
  6. The heroine is really, really good.  She suffers through for a happily-ever-after marriage that is satisfying (although since her brother, the really, really bad guy doesn't die at the end there may be a sequel).
  7. The nuns in Arequipa actually have a lot of fun.  Well, some of them.
  8. I expected some of the fictional characters to be real, especially the artist, Cecilia Cornaro, lover of Cassanova and Lord Byron.
  9. Historical details about creepy things, like books of human skin and oddly venerated Saints (why, why, venerate self-starvation and mutilation?)
  10. Like the Globe & Mail says, the book is a gorgeously diabolical tale of love, murder and obsession.

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