The book: The Lace Reader, by Brunonia Barry
The edition: Italian translation by Stefania Cherchi, as published by Garzanti, softcover edition with additional material including an interview with the author, 391 pages
The story: it’s been a while, so I’ll just link you to this review, which I don’t agree with but which makes a good job of summing the book up.
My experience with the book & my thoughts: I had read so many good things about this book that when I saw it in a bookshop I couldn’t but take it, despite the absurd title it has been given in Italian. Oh man, was I ever so wrong in buying a book! While I can see it may attract readers, and while I’m not saying it’s a bad book altogether, it’s what I call a “beach book”, i.e. something you may want to turn to when you feel lightheaded and don’t want to embark in anything that will engage your mind. It’s definitely a pageturner, with the right amount of mystery and cliffhangers. But it doesn’t remain with you. (And that’s why I had to link you to someone else’s synopsys!)
The part with spoilers: how early in the book did you guess the truth? Me, it was while reading about Towner’s near-drowning in her diary — which is, I’m afraid, not very intelligent of me, but still much earlier than the author intended. Now the thing I don’t get is, if she was still so unstable and so hysteric as to believe everything happened to someone else, why did they let her check out of the mental ward?
What I liked: uhm… a fast read?
What I didn’t like: so many themes touched upon, and none of them gets any attention at all.
Language & translation: good style for this kind of book, though I didn’t like the third person chapters inserted in a mainly first person narrative. Also, why on earth is the Italian title translated as “The lying reader”? People will think it’s a novel about books, which it definitely isn’t! Oh, well.
In the author’s own words: nothing to share, I’m afraid!
Links to better understand this book:
- Salem, Massachussetts. Its cultural references may be obvious for Americans, but not so much for the rest of us, so you may want to read about the Witch Trials, too.
Random thought: I wish I knew how to navigate a boat.
Read this if: if you liked The Da Vinci Code. Yes, that’s the genre, although without much of the religious issues (there are some, but again, only very marginally touched upon).