MOTIVATION for READING: I am thinking this was highly tauted by Liberty of Litsy and Book Riot fame.
WHAT’s it ABOUT: Orphan girl from Minnesota in mid 1800s tries to get herself back to the old country (Switzerland) to find her mother’s family. She ends up singing and being all Annie Oakley on a horse for a circus in Paris, escapes to become a prostitute (not her plan), escapes that into a convent, gets a job attending to the Empress of France, escapes that into a German singing ‘camp’ (hey – you’ll just have to read it), eventually becoming a Diva Opera Star. Go figure. It’s madness and mayhem; obsessions and dastardly deeds! Good fun if you can roll with it. Eye-rolling strain if you can’t.
WHAT’s GOOD: It really was an interesting look at a time in France that I’m no expert on. If you love Opera, you’ll get plenty.
What’s NOT so good: Here’s a sentence: “Here was the return of what I had lost, the loss of which had driven me mad, and now his return threatened to drive me just as mad.” Melodrama much?
One might get the impression that Alexander Chee would be one helluva fun guy to hang out with, share a few cocktails.
FINAL THOUGHTS: I’m glad to have read this and I can actually say I enjoyed it but it won’t be a favorite of the year. Remember, guys and gals, a three star means that I liked it. (I really need to temper my rating enthusiasms and reserve those 5-slicers for the truly over the top gushings of love and joy.)
“It had gotten loose somehow, or the writer had died, it didn’t matter – and no one had shot it for yet for steaks and pies.”
RATING: Three slices of pie. The sentence above refers to a horse. I don’t think you really want me to give this a horse pie rating, though, right?
“It is not love that drives us mad, but all the rest of life around the love.”