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The Birth of Venus: A Novel

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The Birth of Venus: A Novel Cover

 

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

Alessandra Cecchi is not quite fifteen when her father, a prosperous cloth merchant, brings a young painter back from northern Europe to decorate the chapel walls in the family’s Florentine palazzo. A child of the Renaissance, with a precocious mind and a talent for drawing, Alessandra is intoxicated by the painter’s abilities.

But their burgeoning relationship is interrupted when Alessandra’s parents arrange her marriage to a wealthy, much older man. Meanwhile, Florence is changing, increasingly subject to the growing suppression imposed by the fundamentalist monk Savonarola, who is seizing religious and political control. Alessandra and her native city are caught between the Medici state, with its love of luxury, learning, and dazzling art, and the hellfire preaching and increasing violence of Savonarola’s reactionary followers. Played out against this turbulent backdrop, Alessandra’s married life is a misery, except for the surprising freedom it allows her to pursue her powerful attraction to the young painter and his art.

The Birth of Venus is a tour de force, the first historical novel from one of Britain’s most innovative writers of literary suspense. It brings alive the history of Florence at its most dramatic period, telling a compulsively absorbing story of love, art, religion, and power through the passionate voice of Alessandra, a heroine with the same vibrancy of spirit as her beloved city.

Review:

"Though The Birth of Venus has been described, for obvious reasons, as serpentine...the imaginative energy of the enterprise is clearly warmblooded, playful, even reckless — more feline than reptilian." Valerie Martin, The New York Times Book Review

Review:

"[Dunant's] control, pace, and instinct are well-nigh impeccable." The Financial Times

Review:

"No one should visit Tuscany this summer without this book. It is richly textured and driven by a thrillerish fever." The Times (London)

Review:

"It's to Dunant's credit that the vast quantities of historical information in this book are deployed so naturally and lightly....On the simplest level, this is an erotic and gripping thriller, but its intellectual excitement also comes from the way Dunant makes the art and philosophy of the period look new and dangerous again....Theology has rarely looked so sexy." The Independent (London)

Review:

"Dunant has created a vivid and compellingly believable picture of Renaissance Florence: the squalor and brutality; the confidence and vitality; the political machinations. Her research has obviously been meticulous....A magnificent novel." The Telegraph (London)

Review:

"A beautiful serpent of a novel, seductive and dangerous...full of wise guile, the most brilliant novel yet from a writer of powerful historical imagination and wicked literary gifts. Dunant's snaky tale of art, sex and Florentine hysteria consumes utterly — but the experience is all pleasure." Simon Schama

Review:

"Simply amazing, so brilliantly written...almost intolerably exciting at times, and at others, equally poignant." Antonia Fraser

Review:

"[E]nthralling....Dunant's latest profiles a strong Renaissance woman making bold choices to find fulfillment in constrained circumstances. Highly recommended." Library Journal

Review:

"[S]mart and engaging....Dunant has injected a kind of realpolitik into the genre, making it far more poignant and interesting." David Liss, The Washington Post Book World

Review:

"[A] lush and intellectually gripping novel....This is a beautifully written and captivating work." Elsa Gaztambide, Booklist

Review:

"No real surprises in the romance department, but the depiction of Florence as Tehran under the Ayatollah is an eye-opener." Kirkus Reviews

Review:

"[T]he author has a genius for peppering her narrative with little-known facts, and the deadpan dialogue lends a staccato verve to the swift-moving plot....Dunant's vivid, gripping novel gives fresh life to a captivating age of glorious art and political turmoil." Publishers Weekly

Review:

"Sarah Dunant has given us a story of sacrifice and betrayal, set during Florence's captivity under the fanatic Savanarola. She writes like a painter, and thinks like a philosopher: juxtapositioning the humane against the animal, hope against fanaticism, creativity against destruction. The Birth of Venus is a tour de force." Amanda Foreman, author of Georgiana: Duchess of Devonshire

Synopsis:

Turning fifteen in Renaissance Florence, Alessandra Cecchi becomes intoxicated with the works of a young painter whom her father has brought to the city to decorate the family's Florentine palazzo, a situation that is complicated by her unwanted arranged marriage to an older man and a battle between the Medici family and the fundamentalist followers of Savonarola. Reader's Guide included. Reprint. 200,000 first printing.

Synopsis:

¿Simply amazing, so brilliantly written...almost intolerably exciting at times, and at others, equally poignant.¿
¿Antonia Fraser

¿A beautiful serpent of a novel, seductive and dangerous...full of wise guile, the most brilliant novel yet from a writer of powerful historical imagination and wicked literary gifts. Dunant¿s snaky tale of art, sex and Florentine hysteria consumes utterly¿but the experience is all pleasure.¿
¿Simon Schama

¿Sarah Dunant has given us a story of sacrifice and betrayal, set during Florence¿s captivity under the fanatic Savonarola. She writes like a painter, and thinks like a philosopher: juxtapositioning the humane against the animal, hope against fanaticism, creativity against destruction. The Birth of Venus is a tour de force.¿
¿Amanda Foreman, author of Georgiana: Duchess of Devonshire

¿Dunant has created a vivid and compellingly believable picture of Renaissance Florence: the squalor and brutality; the confidence and vitality; the political machinations. Her research has obviously been meticulous....A magnificent novel.¿
¿The Telegraph (London)

¿It¿s to Dunant¿s credit that the vast quantities of historical information in this book are deployed so naturally and lightly....On the simplest level, this is an erotic and gripping thriller, but its intellectual excitement also comes from the way Dunant makes the art and philosophy of the period look new and dangerous again....Theology has rarely looked so sexy.¿
¿The Independent (London)

¿No one should visit Tuscany this summer without this book. It is richly textured and driven by a thrillerish fever.¿
¿The Times (London)

¿[Dunant¿s] control, pace, and instinct are well-nigh impeccable.¿
¿The Financial Times


From the Hardcover edition.

About the Author

Sarah Dunant has written eight novels and edited two books of essays. She has worked widely in print, television, and radio, and until recently hosted the leading BBC Radio arts program, Night Waves. Now a full-time writer, she is adapting her novels Transgressions and Mapping the Edge for the screen. Dunant has two children and lives in London and Florence.

What Our Readers Are Saying

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Average customer rating based on 1 comment:

soonywang, March 7, 2007 (view all comments by soonywang)
This is a beautiful book about art and love.
Was this comment helpful? | Yes | No
(3 of 9 readers found this comment helpful)

Product Details

ISBN:
9781588364425
Subtitle:
A Novel
Publisher:
Random House Trade Paperbacks
Author:
Dunant, Sarah
Author:
Sarah Dunant
Subject:
General
Subject:
Fiction-General
Subject:
Fiction : General
Subject:
General
Subject:
Historical - General
Subject:
Married women
Subject:
Teenage girls
Subject:
Historical fiction
Subject:
General Fiction
Subject:
Audio Books-Literature
Subject:
Literature-A to Z
Subject:
Literature-Sale Books
Subject:
LIT-THEME202EndCap
Subject:
Historical
Subject:
main_subject
Subject:
all_subjects
Publication Date:
20041130
Binding:
ELECTRONIC
Language:
English
Pages:
448

Related Subjects

Fiction and Poetry » Literature » A to Z

The Birth of Venus: A Novel
0 stars - 0 reviews
$ In Stock
Product details 448 pages Random House Publishing Group - English 9781588364425 Reviews:
"Review" by , "Though The Birth of Venus has been described, for obvious reasons, as serpentine...the imaginative energy of the enterprise is clearly warmblooded, playful, even reckless — more feline than reptilian."
"Review" by , "[Dunant's] control, pace, and instinct are well-nigh impeccable."
"Review" by , "No one should visit Tuscany this summer without this book. It is richly textured and driven by a thrillerish fever."
"Review" by , "It's to Dunant's credit that the vast quantities of historical information in this book are deployed so naturally and lightly....On the simplest level, this is an erotic and gripping thriller, but its intellectual excitement also comes from the way Dunant makes the art and philosophy of the period look new and dangerous again....Theology has rarely looked so sexy."
"Review" by , "Dunant has created a vivid and compellingly believable picture of Renaissance Florence: the squalor and brutality; the confidence and vitality; the political machinations. Her research has obviously been meticulous....A magnificent novel."
"Review" by , "A beautiful serpent of a novel, seductive and dangerous...full of wise guile, the most brilliant novel yet from a writer of powerful historical imagination and wicked literary gifts. Dunant's snaky tale of art, sex and Florentine hysteria consumes utterly — but the experience is all pleasure."
"Review" by , "Simply amazing, so brilliantly written...almost intolerably exciting at times, and at others, equally poignant."
"Review" by , "[E]nthralling....Dunant's latest profiles a strong Renaissance woman making bold choices to find fulfillment in constrained circumstances. Highly recommended."
"Review" by , "[S]mart and engaging....Dunant has injected a kind of realpolitik into the genre, making it far more poignant and interesting."
"Review" by , "[A] lush and intellectually gripping novel....This is a beautifully written and captivating work."
"Review" by , "No real surprises in the romance department, but the depiction of Florence as Tehran under the Ayatollah is an eye-opener."
"Review" by , "[T]he author has a genius for peppering her narrative with little-known facts, and the deadpan dialogue lends a staccato verve to the swift-moving plot....Dunant's vivid, gripping novel gives fresh life to a captivating age of glorious art and political turmoil."
"Review" by , "Sarah Dunant has given us a story of sacrifice and betrayal, set during Florence's captivity under the fanatic Savanarola. She writes like a painter, and thinks like a philosopher: juxtapositioning the humane against the animal, hope against fanaticism, creativity against destruction. The Birth of Venus is a tour de force."
"Synopsis" by , Turning fifteen in Renaissance Florence, Alessandra Cecchi becomes intoxicated with the works of a young painter whom her father has brought to the city to decorate the family's Florentine palazzo, a situation that is complicated by her unwanted arranged marriage to an older man and a battle between the Medici family and the fundamentalist followers of Savonarola. Reader's Guide included. Reprint. 200,000 first printing.
"Synopsis" by , ¿Simply amazing, so brilliantly written...almost intolerably exciting at times, and at others, equally poignant.¿
¿Antonia Fraser

¿A beautiful serpent of a novel, seductive and dangerous...full of wise guile, the most brilliant novel yet from a writer of powerful historical imagination and wicked literary gifts. Dunant¿s snaky tale of art, sex and Florentine hysteria consumes utterly¿but the experience is all pleasure.¿
¿Simon Schama

¿Sarah Dunant has given us a story of sacrifice and betrayal, set during Florence¿s captivity under the fanatic Savonarola. She writes like a painter, and thinks like a philosopher: juxtapositioning the humane against the animal, hope against fanaticism, creativity against destruction. The Birth of Venus is a tour de force.¿
¿Amanda Foreman, author of Georgiana: Duchess of Devonshire

¿Dunant has created a vivid and compellingly believable picture of Renaissance Florence: the squalor and brutality; the confidence and vitality; the political machinations. Her research has obviously been meticulous....A magnificent novel.¿
¿The Telegraph (London)

¿It¿s to Dunant¿s credit that the vast quantities of historical information in this book are deployed so naturally and lightly....On the simplest level, this is an erotic and gripping thriller, but its intellectual excitement also comes from the way Dunant makes the art and philosophy of the period look new and dangerous again....Theology has rarely looked so sexy.¿
¿The Independent (London)

¿No one should visit Tuscany this summer without this book. It is richly textured and driven by a thrillerish fever.¿
¿The Times (London)

¿[Dunant¿s] control, pace, and instinct are well-nigh impeccable.¿
¿The Financial Times


From the Hardcover edition.
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