A compelling, fantastical fable for our times. The splendid narration captures the wonder, fear, awe and poignancy of this brilliantly written tale. A must listen!
The story of Juana of Castile is intriguing and the premise of telling her story through Lucia, a young, orphaned school girl seemed promising. Unfortunately, I found Lucia's story annoying more often than not -- some aspects seem to be drawn too obviously from the author's own personal early history and sexual activity (The Country Under My Skin). Manuel comes across as a shallowly drawn character exacerbated by the rather wooden narration for his character. I felt the relationship between Manuel and Lucia seemed superficial and unrealistic, never really taking off so that the reader cared about either of them. Juana is a compelling character, but at times is delivered like a Wikipedia profile of her life and history.
I felt that the parallel story lines become contrived and even silly at points. The 'steamy' sections were rather on the clinical side and did not advance the story except to ensure that both Juana and Lucia were both pregnant at the same time and facing terrible life choices, purportedly to make both stories more powerful. Didn't do the job.
Having said that, I far preferred listening to the story (in Spanish) on Audible rather than reading it (also in Spanish) as I had originally tried several years ago when I just stalled out.
Gioconda Belli is a talented writer with interesting ideas and stories to tell. I enjoyed this effort of hers more than the above would indicate. Just wish more of her poetic side had shone through and that her editor had exercised more judgment.
Having started Ullysses on several occasions and never finished, I find myself mesmerized by this Audible version. The splendid narration takes one into the story in an experiential way, where you literally see, hear, smell, touch the places visited by Bloom and Dedalus and their thoughts insert themselves as though they are your own. I finally get it!
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