Thursday, February 26, 2009

The House on Moon Lake by Francesca Duranti

Yes - the Francesca Duranti celebration continues! This is the third novel of hers I've read recently. Here, unlike the others, we follow a male character.

Fabrizio Garrone is a translator of little acclaim who moves through his life with few celebrations. By chance he discovers the mention of a lost Viennese novel titled The House on Moon Lake. This, he thinks, could be his claim to fame.

Fabrizio travels to Vienna to track down a copy of the novel and begin work on the translation. When he is offered the opportunity to write a biography of the lost novelist to accompany the publication of the discovered novel, Fabrizio invents portions of the novelist's life that the reading public, believing all is true, falls in love with.

Duranti continues her theme of a quest, as well as the examination of male/female relationships. The novel ends rather strangely in a dreamlike and bizarre world that did not quite match the rest of the work, but this is still a novel I would recommend.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Personal Effects by Francesca Duranti

This Italian novel follows Valentina, a recently divorced woman who devoted years to aiding the advancement of her husband’s scholarship on the Church Fathers. Valentina, who is not certain what life now holds for her, spontaneously embarks on a road trip to track down and interview Milos Jarco, an award-winning Eastern European writer.

As Jarco becomes more and more elusive, Valentina’s focus turns to an assortment of odd literary characters who may have information about his background and whereabouts. This brings with it more complications. Valentina begins to think her hotel is bugged and there is a conspiracy against her, but why? As this unusual mystery unfolds, she starts a romantic relationship with a poet who is also somewhat elusive.

This is definitely a unique work. I did not enjoy it as much as Duranti’s Left-Handed Dreams, which was more poetic, but I continue to think she is an amazing writer.