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Antonia of Venice Paperback – December 18, 2014
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About the Author
My whole childhood was spent in Regina, Saskatchewan, in the same house, about a block away from the intersection of the Canadian National and the Canadian Pacific Railways. I moved to “the east” as a rite of passage when I was eighteen. The bleak prairies live deep within me. They are most evident in the two completed short stories – Joey and Veronica. Now that I’ve completed the my “career path” as a social worker and individual counsellor, I’m able to have writing, photography and photoart as my chief occupations. I perceive writing as the energetic combination of attention, eccentricity, music, perception and solitude. I love seclusion and thrive in an environment of music, Venetian glass, camera lenses, great writers living on my shelves and my family and very special friends. I happen to be Canadian with roots in England and France and a heart in Italy. I live in Guelph, Ontario, and at the family cottage on the northern shores of Lake Huron. Having been raised by parents who were accomplished musicians, I tend to err on the side of believing my musical knowledge is not, shall we say, noteworthy. However, compared to many people’s, it is extensive. I never heard my ex-concert-mistress-mother play her violin. I yearned to know her instrument. I yearned to hear her play; but she wouldn’t. I think now it was some kind of perfection compulsion. Nevertheless, my younger sister and I grew up immersed in music. My mother’s prodigious piano skills accompanied my father’s beautiful tenor voice. And we talked as a family… in depth. Margaret and I benefited from the musical, intellectual and spiritual environment our parents, mainly our father, created. One particularly quirky fascination I developed was that at age four, I fell in love with Venice. My eccentric and multi-talented mother introduced me to the strange city, so physically far from Regina, Saskatchewan. Somewhere along the line, my mother had learned that Vivaldi, whose music she had come to love as much as Bach’s, had had an orchestra of female musicians. In the 1700’s? Impossible! True. It was as though my mother had lived in the city.
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Top Customer Reviews
(I read this novel manuscript before it was sent to the publisher and sent this note to Ellyn):
Bravo! I think that you have a first rate novel. It is very publishable in my opinion. It has all the readability of a Romeo and Juliet, a revenge tragedy, a rape of Helen, and a bit of Harlequin romance.
Your novel is well researched, very academic without being pedantic, a captivating prose style, an intriguing plot line which drives the reader to the end, and interesting characters. Your novel is in the mainstream of post-modern fiction with the use of real historical figures in real historical time put into a fictional story. See Findley's Pilgrim with Carl Jung or Peter Carey's The True History of the Kelly Gang. This fact makes your novel even more publishable.
Your knowledge of music and languages is remarkable and yet never detracts from the narrative. Your conclusion is perfect - leading the reader to wanting a reunion of your heroes, but with the realistic, tragic ending... yet with a cathartic sense of elation. Your geography of Venice, Sienna and Vienna is accurate.
About the question of inclusion of your poetry? Again it is typical of post modern novels to incorporate a variety of genres (a bit of dramatic form, some personal editorializing, and some poetry).
Finally, forget everything I've said and send it to a publisher now. It is an intriguing and mature piece of fiction. The revelation at the end is Dickensian; I mean that as a compliment. There were hints, but you kept it hidden to the end. Your descriptions of Antonia's hair are brilliant. Antonia, Vivaldi and Paolina are very memorable characters.
Good luck! I look forward to your next "publication".
The plot is clever and well-paced, and I found the denouement deeply satisfying. The meditation on identity is deft; with changes of name, wearing of masks, transcripts of a soul-journal, obscured parenthood... so much to reflect on. Yet above all, the author writes about longing, pining, yearning, loss and separation with such exquisite and painful clarity.
This story is a feast for the senses: sound, taste, smell, vision and touch are all evoked with great skill. I feel as though I have seen a film, or even been present during the story. I loved the book, and I feel greatly privileged to have a glimpse of the author’s spiritual self through reading it.