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The Muse: A Novel

The Muse: A Novel


The Muse: A Novel

evaluări:
4/5 (22 evaluări)
Lungime:
13 hours
Lansat:
Jul 26, 2016
ISBN:
9780062472427
Format:
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Descriere

From the #1 internationally bestselling author of The Miniaturist comes a captivating and brilliantly realized story of two young women-a Caribbean immigrant in 1960s London, and a bohemian woman in 1930s Spain-and the powerful mystery that ties them together.

England, 1967. Odelle Bastien is a Caribbean émigré trying to make her way in London. When she starts working at the prestigious Skelton Institute of Art, she discovers a painting rumored to be the work of Isaac Robles, a young artist of immense talent and vision whose mysterious death has confounded the art world for decades. The excitement over the painting is matched by the intrigue around the conflicting stories of its discovery. Drawn into a complex web of secrets and deceptions, Odelle does not know what to believe or who she can trust, including her mesmerizing colleague, Marjorie Quick.

Spain, 1936. Olive Schloss, the daughter of a Viennese Jewish art dealer and an English heiress, follows her parents to Arazuelo, a poor, restless village on the southern coast. She grows close to Teresa, a young housekeeper, and Teresa's half-brother, Isaac Robles, an idealistic and ambitious painter newly returned from the Barcelona salons. A dilettante buoyed by the revolutionary fervor that will soon erupt into civil war, Isaac dreams of being a painter as famous as his countryman Picasso.

Raised in poverty, these illegitimate children of the local landowner revel in exploiting the wealthy Anglo-Austrians. Insinuating themselves into the Schloss family's lives, Teresa and Isaac help Olive conceal her artistic talents with devastating consequences that will echo into the decades to come.

Rendered in exquisite detail, The Muse is a passionate and enthralling tale of desire, ambition, and the ways in which the tides of history inevitably shape and define our lives.

Lansat:
Jul 26, 2016
ISBN:
9780062472427
Format:
Carte audio

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Despre autor

Jessie Burton was born in London in 1982. She studied at Oxford University and the Central School of Speech and Drama. The Miniaturist is her first novel.

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  • (3/5)
    A popular format these days, same characters, one story, two time frames - 1936 and 1967. Art and the art world, a misjudged deception rather than fraud which leads to mystery and family secrets. During the Spanish Civil War 3 young people meet - British Olive, Spanish Isaac and Teresa. Their meeting will have a ripple effect on many lives in the following years and not all is what it seems. This is not a particularly happy story, but then dysfunctional families never are.
  • (4/5)
    Whilst it didn't quite live up to the mysterious magic of The Miniaturist, Jessie Burton's second book was a very enjoyable read. Taking inspiration yet again from the art world, this novel tells the story of the unearthing of a lost Spanish painting in London in the 1960s, and the story of love and an unbreakable bond which continues to guard the secrets of the painting 30 years on.Set amidst the backdrop of political tension in 1930s Andalusia and a London seen through the eyes of a recent Windrush immigrant from the Caribbean, the dual narrative settings worked very well together, slowly unravelling the mystery and increasing the dramatic tension around how the two settings would eventually be linked together through the painting.4 stars - a better second novel than expected from an interesting historical novelist.
  • (4/5)
    An interesting lighter read, nicely paced, develops the mileau of times (1930's Spanish province preparing for civil war, 1960's Britain & attitudes to a black colonial immigrant) . I am never fond of the flashback though.
  • (4/5)
    3.5 stars. Would have been 4 stars, but for the last 40 pages containing a "shocking twist" and a lot of trite end-of-novel summing up. Sigh... I hope Burton's next book has more in common with her fantastic debut novel, The Miniaturist.
  • (3/5)
    I absolutely loved the beautifully written The Miniaturist, Jessie Burton's first novel, so was really keen to see what I thought of The Muse. I have to say that whilst I enjoyed certain parts of it, I didn't love it and was slightly disappointed by it.The story has two strands. The 'current' day story is that of Odelle Bastien, a young woman who has come to the Motherland (England) from Trinidad. She works in a shoe shop with her friend, Cynth, but then finds work in a gallery where she meets the enigma that is Marjorie Quick. Her work brings her into contact with a painting with a mystery surrounding it. The second part of the story looks at the origins of the painting in Spain in the mid-1930s with the Schloss family and revolutionary Isaac Robles and his sister, Teresa. As with most dual time frame stories, I much preferred the more modern of the two. I think I enjoy following somebody finding out what happened in the past, rather than reading it for myself. Odelle is an interesting lead character, with complexities that she finds difficult to manage. Olive Schloss, the daughter of the family in the 1930s was also intriguing but her story didn't grab me quite as much as Odelle's. One of the main problems I had with this book was that I didn't really take to any of the characters that much, nor did I care what happened to them, and the story never really drew me in enough. Burton has written an in-depth book but failed to bring it to life. The writing is ultimately good, but too wordy and slow a read for me. I wish she could have reproduced the feelings I had after reading The Miniaturist.
  • (4/5)
    Dual time periods and a fabulous painting....I enjoyed Jessie Burton's first book, The Miniaturist, and couldn't wait to read her new novel, The Muse. Both were enjoyable reads but I did miss the magical realism element from The Miniaturist, while The Muse had a more satisfying ending.The Muse is split between two time periods, Spain in 1936 and London in 1967.The Spanish Civil War is brewing when teenage Olive Schloss arrives with her German art dealer father and English socialite mother. They move in to a fabulous old Spanish finca and are immediately approached by Isaac Robles and his sister, Teresa, who are searching for work. I loved these complicated characters and they effectively created a link to the approaching war.Olive is an accomplished artist but her father is unaware of his daughter's talents and so it is Isaac Robles who he encourages to paint. One painting from this era finds its way into the 1960s story and to the Skelton Gallery, but its history is unknown and its provenance questionable. Is it a valuable missing gem from the past and if so, how did it find its way to the gallery??Thirty years later, Odelle Bastien and her friend, Cynth, have left Trinidad and come to London to find work and improve their fortunes, but so far, a job in the Dolcis shoe shop is the best they have achieved. Then Odelle stumbles into a job as a typist in the Skelton Art Gallery and she realises that she has fond her niche. Her boss, Marjorie Quick is a fascinating and elusive character who Odelle longs to understand, while Quick, in her turn, takes Odelle under her wing and eventually confides in her.The narrative weaves effortlessly between the two eras and drew me in with several unanswered questions. This is the type of book that always holds my attention, but The Muse had the added advantage of being beautifully written too. If you enjoy dual era, historical novels I'm sure this one will be a great read for you too.
  • (3/5)
    I didn't read the Miniaturist, but heard the buzz (both yea and nay), so this was my first interaction with the author. Interesting story in a dual plot line format (London 1967 and Spain 1936), which I tend to like. The story kept me interested, despite my feelings about the characters, because I did want to see how it all wrapped up.
  • (3/5)
    The premise of this book had me intrigued. Then when I watched the video by the author reading a part from the book, I was even more interested to read this book. Yet, sadly I was not so over the moon with this book as I was looking forward towards. To be honest, it is purely by the author's writing and the wonderful time periods and locations that kept me reading as much as I did. The characters did not really resonate emotionally with me. Therefore I struggled with the book as a whole. Although, maybe just a tiny bit I did like Odelle. She did seem to have a stronger voice that stuck with me over Olive, Teresa and Isaac. However as I stated prior, the author does have a nice way of telling a story. I did feel like the story was being told with the brush stroke of a paint brush. I would try this author again.
  • (5/5)
    This book was very interesting, started slow. But the layers of certain characters kept me hooked.
  • (5/5)
    The best book I've encountered so far. . . .
  • (5/5)
    This is a book which will leave me broken and the only way to mend this is to read it again.
  • (4/5)
    Good story. Well written
  • (3/5)
    A special thank you to Edelweiss and The Reading Society for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

    Although I'm new to Burton's writing, I was aware of her successful debut The Miniaturist and was anxious to read her sophomore effort. This book is incredibly well written and I thoroughly enjoyed Odelle's story. She is a young, bright Trinidadian immigrant who accepts a job at a London art gallery that houses a cast of eccentric and mesmerizing characters. The focus of the story is a painting by Isaac Robles, which brings the reader to 1937 in Spain, a few months before the artists mysterious death.

    The novel takes place over a 40-year span with parallel stories that eventually intersect; Odelle is a immigrant to London, Olive is a foreigner in Spain. Both women create art, Odelle through the written word, and Olive paints–both woman protect their work from others and end up having their work exposed without their prior knowledge or consent.

    My one criticism of the book, I found the parts of the story set in Spain were too long, and the storyline wasn't as intriguing than the one in London. I found Olive was not as enchanting as Odelle, although equally gifted, I found her self-centred and she relied on Isaac too much.

    Burton is a great writer, I can't wait to check out The Miniaturist.
  • (5/5)
    That Difficult Second BookQuite frankly the only difficult thing about this book is putting it down!! T’is a joyous thing to behold a writer growing into their own skin and finding their voice. If anyone believed that The Miniaturist was a flash in the pan or a one hit wonder, think again. For The Muse is another exhilarating read. Similar themes occur, some of them paradoxical, the secrecy of art and creativity, the destruction and the preservation of art and creativity, plenty of food for thought. But whereas The Miniaturist remains in one historical period The Muse swing boats us between two different periods and two different locations. And the wonderful Marjorie Quick is the link between those two periods and locations. For me Marjorie Quick is one of those characters who projects such a presence on the page. as a reader you kind of know she is an unusual person and pivotal to the narrative. And we are never told the whole truth abut her but there are enough clues to understand her motivation and her sadness.There’s plenty going on in the narrative to keep the reader entertained and curious. There are pictures painted (no pun intended) of a time gone by, of different etiquettes and protocols. Atmospheric to the extent that you have to check that you yourself are not soaked from the rain. It’s a privilege to read a book such as this for it is everything a fiction should be. If there is a down side I think it is that The Miniaturist was so unique the expectation for The Muse might disappoint some readers. But I believe the quality of the writing, the development of the plot and sympathies of the characterisations assure Jessie Burton’s credibility as a modern novelist of some standing.
  • (4/5)
    No sophomore slump here. I liked The Muse better than The Miniaturist overall. Instead of a single timeframe as in her first book, here we get two; 1967 (with Odelle’s life and situation in London) and 1938 (with the Schloss family’s entanglement with the Robles siblings in Spain). The 1967 section deals with the rediscovery of a ‘lost’ Issac Robles painting and the 1938 section with its creation. The mystery Odelle needs to solve isn’t one for the reader, but Burton still has a few surprises up her sleeve. None are earth shattering and they make sense. It’s a quietly moving book about the suppression of female talent, the value of art, the anguish of creation and the price of friendship and keeping secrets.The value of art and creation is a quiet undercurrent in the book and Odelle embodies it quite well. She’s a writer who doesn’t write anymore because she doesn’t know why she’s doing it. She isn’t published and she isn’t producing school work anymore, so she’s stuck; feeling the urge, but having no outlet. “I appreciated the irony that just like at school at university, I was delivering a story for someone else to approve, but I had been too long inculcated with the act of writing for an audience. This time, however, I wasn't going to hinge everything on my audience’s response. If Quick didn't like it, maybe that was a good thing. It was now out of my control.”It reminds me of a conversation I had recently with an old friend who is a painter. She’s sold a few paintings here and there and would like to do more, but she doesn’t like the idea of sitting at arts and crafts shows, behind a table with her work on display, a hopeful look on her face silently pleading to viewers to buy her art. I feel the same way about my photography. To do it for others’ approval alone would debase it in my view. I do it for me. I enjoy it. I don’t need other people’s approval and that’s not why I keep doing it. Oh sure, I have a couple of websites where I share my work, but I’m no glory hog. I’m not on every website fishing for compliments. The drive to keep looking, to keep seeing, to keep producing is for me. I love looking at my own work and the things I’ve discovered and captured. It’s a personal joy that keeps giving because it’s the work, the process that I love, not the end result or the adulation.Anyway, the relationship between Quick and Odelle is an interesting one. They both put themselves out there and take risks with one another, knowing that they will reap rewards that might be a ways off and that neither might see the other enjoy. The mirroring friendship between Olive and Theresa is fraught with different risks, but is also subtly drawn. Both end in death, but hope lives on.
  • (4/5)
    This book was initially all about the cover love for me - I could not stop looking at the cover whenever I saw it. I also liked that the story line was about a lost painting, but I wasn't sure it was really my thing. So I checked it out of the library, read the first bit, and bought the book for myself. Then it went to the back burner during Halloween Book Bingo. Last night I devoured the last 75%. I was right, it's not quite my kind of jam, but it was so good. The narrative is divided between two time-lines, the 1930's Spain, and the 1960's, London, but the author broke these up by sections, rather than chapters, which kept the transitions more seamless. For me, at the beginning of the book, the predominant timeline was the 60's, but as the book progressed it rapidly became all about what happened in the 30's. What an ungodly mess it was, too. This is one of those books that stayed with me when I finished it and my thoughts are scattered all over the place about it, so I'll just say this: the writing was gorgeous, the story was tragic, and oh I love that cover!