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Italian Fever: A Novel Paperback – May 9, 2000
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Of course, from the moment her plane lands, she suffers from cultural disorientation, and worse. Why, exactly, is her handsome if humorless chauffeur, Massimo, so solicitous? Why is DV's villa in fact a farmhouse? And are its proprietors, the Cinis, conspiring to keep her from the truth? Then there are Lucy's Nancy Drew-like discoveries--a terrifying drawing of DV and a mysterious love letter. And is the scratching at the walls a sign from DV's ghost or something more quotidian? All in all, our heroine can't sort out hallucination from Italian provocation, which is all too much for someone who has long prided herself on her clear sight.
Though Valerie Martin's seventh novel has its share of stomach-clenching moments, it is most successful in its many comic scenes (not something this talented author has hitherto been known for). Whether Lucy is trying to break through Massimo's defenses or get to the bottom of the Cinis' behavior, she is usually miles from the truth. Meanwhile, Martin offers up a host of memorable minor figures, from DV's ultrasophisticated New York publisher to the quail-consuming, epigram-spouting Antonio Cini, who gets most of the good lines. When Lucy tells him that she's forever in Massimo's debt, he languidly responds: "Forever, that must be a tiresome sensation." Though Italian Fever is never in the least tiresome, its biggest mystery is how Martin--who has written so strikingly of possession in The Great Divorce--is here far stronger on satire than the supernatural. --Kerry Fried --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
From Publishers Weekly
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
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Top Customer Reviews
Lucy Stark is a writer's assistant whose employer, writing abroad, suddenly turns up dead. She is left the task of putting his affairs in order and looking for the rest of a manuscript he has been working on. What starts out as a possible murder mystery quickly devolves into simply a diary of an American's time spent in Italy, replete with art appreciation, affairs and lots of cappucino consumption.
This novel didn't seem to follow its initial intentions or promises, although when the end finally comes, everything is wrapped up to some satisfaction. Had the book simply been to detail an American's experience abroad and what she learned about herself along the way, I would have understood how to read it. As it is, it seems the author did a little of this, a little of that, but I cannot complain about the quality of the language and the flow of the writing. My main feeling is that this book did not AFFECT me, the way I feel a good novel should. I probably won't think about it again.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
It was an average book as far as writing and interest in the story goes. I thought the main character a bit soppy really and the scenes like those when she is unwell and rushes out... Read morePublished 9 months ago by Bronwen Nicholson
I thoroughly enjoyed this book. Beautiful prose, vivid descriptions, convincing characters, a touch of mystery and danger and all of this takes place in one of my favorite... Read morePublished on December 7, 2012 by Christa Polkinhorn
I found this novel at the back of the shelf where it had been gathering dust for a decade; I dusted it off, sat down to read, and actually enjoyed it. Read morePublished on February 12, 2012 by F. S. L'hoir
This Italian tour takes us through ghost-worlds, deadness, hell, relationships, womanhood, beauty, and art.
'DV' is a famous US novelist now based in Italy. Read more
When I read the beginning of Italian Fever, I knew I would expect more. There was suspense, chaos, turmoil. Read morePublished on August 18, 2010 by David Lupo
Hmmm...I hope that when I finally visit Italy, I am not struck by such a fever! I read this book for the setting and the cultural immersion, which was beautifully and satisfyingly... Read morePublished on June 11, 2007 by Donna K.
This book kind of reminded me of 'Room With A View' full of pleasant characters set in Italy but nothing much happens and the reader is left unsatisfied by the end. Read morePublished on October 9, 2006 by robbieandrose
Though I was prepared to read a good novel that would bring back memories of my visits to Italy, I was quickly bored with the main character, Lucy Stark, and her self-centered... Read morePublished on November 24, 2004 by John Sollami
Why oh why can't I remember to ignore bookjacket flap copy? I might have appreciated "Italian Fever" more if it hadn't been touted as a murder mystery. Read morePublished on June 17, 2001