Wednesday, May 6, 2009

The Glassblower of Murano by Marina Fiorato

Flap copy from ARC:
"Venice, 1681. Glassblowing is the lifeblood of the Republic, and Venetian mirrors are more precious than gold. One of the greatest artists of his time, Corradino Manin, must sell his methods and his soul to protect his secret daughter. In the present day his descendent, Leonora Manin, becomes inextricably linked to her ancestor as the secrets of his life begin to come to light."

This was an extremely enjoyable read that bounced back and forth between modern-day and 17th century Venice. Reeling from a recent divorce and an infertility diagnosis, Leonora Manin leaves England for Venice, her birthplace and spiritual home. In search of solace and a sense of history, Leonora looks to her father's ancestor and legendary glassblower Corradino to help her find a anchor in a city built on water. As the sometimes sordid details of Corradino's life come to light, Leonora finds her footing in Venice, and with her Venetian love Alessandro, shifting beneath her.

I enjoyed this book and the story that centered around Leonora and her search for herself because it felt emotionally true. The storyline that focused on Corradino was rich with details of 17th century Venice and the art of glassblowing, but lacked that same emotional connection. On the other hand, Fiorato's love of Venice itself shone through both narratives and provided an excellent unifying thread. I have travelled to Venice several times and can definitely relate to Leonora's desire to make a home there if at all possible. Venice in this novel lives and breathes as much as any other character, and lends its unique flavor to this excellent novel. Highly recommended.


Katherine said...

I enjoyed this book, too.

Anonymous said...

I inexplicably have a hard time reading books set in Italy. I have no idea why this should be. I don't have anything against Italy, actually I really, really want to go there sometime. This sounds really good though - I'm torn!