Stephen Greenblatt tells the story of a treasure hunter of the 1400's who unearths a remarkable manuscript. But there is another story told about the way ideas are disseminated and remembered as well as censored and forgotten. The radical shifts of cosmological views during the Renaissance are also explored through the colorful characters that are touched by the ideas contained in the ancient manuscript. For those who love books, for those who love ideas, and for those who enjoy seeing how the two can change the world, this is a great listen.
The narrator is also wonderful. The right pace and a clear voice.
As an art lover and someone who lived in Europe many years ago, I had only heard whispers of these stories, random crumbs about Nazi art thefts of some of my most beloved masterpieces, but I never knew the extent of the theft or that the art and architecture I have spent my life learning about came so close to being lost, completely, before I was born. This was a revelation, and well told. I am left with a burning desire to thank the heroes of this story and to hope that the movie offers a fitting memorial to their mission. This is the kind of book I want everyone to read, certain that lives will be enriched knowing this worthy story, and certain that it will be closer to the truth than any film can offer. Read first before the movie has some fun with it.
Clearly, this is a writer, and an extraordinary performer of his own work. I wasn't in the mood for such dark and scary stuff, but that is entirely my fault, not his. As my first read of Gaimen, I had not expected the dreamy landscape that blurs reality and it took me awhile to immerse myself in it. As others have pointed out, it is almost too short. Just as I had my bearings, it was over. I will say, it captures an almost forgotten sense of how we all struggled between our make-believe and our reality at some point in our lives. One of the better childhood perspectives I have encountered.
Robin's romp through hi-tech magic and ancient knowledge (aka OK) was so completely refreshing and entertaining, my only complaint is it ended too soon. Would have loved to hang out with Clay and gang a lot longer!
You also do not have to be young to enjoy this. But if you like (even a little) typography, design, communication, codes, and fun, then you are the right person for this adventure. I especially enjoyed Clay and his tongue in cheek, don't-take-it-too-seriously attitude.
After the first violent episode, the rest were a bit easier to read through. I loved the different characters sharing a story across the ages, each bringing a different perspective and each a fascinating character in their own rights. The writing is rich and engaging. The research impressive. But the narration steals the show for me. Not sure the print version would have been as engaging. I loved Eli from start to finish, much the way good girls like bad boys. "Might makes right" echoes from these pages and reminds me why Texas can be such an ornery and difficult place. If anything, the book makes me like the state even less than I did before by confirming stereotypes, but that didn't make the read any less enjoyable.
There are layers here. There is beauty and there is a profound sense of what life is about. I haven't been so sad to finish a book in a long time. Perfect for a walk.
Based on several glowing reviews, I gave this a try. If you like a richly evolved sentence and living, breathing characters, a sharp plot with action or at least mystery, move along. If you want simple writing, shallow characters who have sex and an unchallenging plot, go ahead. Far from the worst I've read, but certainly nowhere close to good.
As usual, Kingsolver brings characters to life in all their flawed beauty and realism. We feel we know them and even better, understand them. Flight Behavior has a point of view, but not exactly what you might expect and not a simple one. Kingsolver often gives us a complex reality dressed in butterfly wings. The story was original and even the characters struggled to make sense of it. But it is a metaphor for all the changes we face, whether personal or global in nature, how we deal with circumstances when they fall outside what we know. Another beauty and another one that sticks with the reader.
My perspective as a former studio painter and art history buff attracted me to this book and created both my favorable and unfavorable views. I started off being skeptical of the artistic license used in both the technical issues and the historic. Focusing on an Impressionist painting seemed so over-done; being a Vermeer fanatic, I would have preferred "The Concert" as subject (a real casualty in the real heist). But I was still pulled in and carried along partly because I could relate to the issues if not buying every detail. Many have commented on enjoying the technicalities of forgery, which I admit, were a fun read. In fact, there is so much more than given but Shapiro avoids tedium and gives us enough to enjoy. Strong female protagonists are always welcome and a glimpse of the art world will satisfy those who have no clue. I thought of DaVinci code (which I loved as a guilty pleasure) so I recommend this unless you know too much about painting to let a little go and enjoy yourself. In my humble opinion, more books about art and craft are needed on the shelves. This is a rich subject.
I heard it was kind of dark, so I scanned reviews to get a better feel for what I was getting myself in to. But surprises and twists are what awaits you in this page-turner of a suspenseful marriage. Don't spoil any of it by knowing too much before it begins. Just enjoy the psychological mind game Gillian plays with you. It would be a GREAT selection for a book group. I promise you, it is hard not to want to discuss this one! Her best novel so far. I hope for many more!
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