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Indelicacy: A Novel Kindle Edition
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About the Author
Lauren Ezzo is a Chicago-based audiobook narrator and commercial voice talent. A Michigan native and Hope College alumna, she has recorded over 100 titles and garnered several AudioFile Earphones Awards for her narrations. --This text refers to an alternate kindle_edition edition.
"In Indelicacy we meet a woman who spends time studying landscape paintings and then walking inside the landscapes where she lives. She looks at a landscape then moves inside another, and as we read it begins to seem that the landscapes in paintings and in fiction are eerily the same. In a deeply pleasing way, reading this novel is a bit like standing in a painting, a masterful study of light and dark, inside and out, freedom and desire. Amina Cain is one of my favorite writers. I loved reading this book." ―Danielle Dutton, author of Margaret the First
"To read Amina Cain's Indelicacy is akin to donning magnifying spectacles that distill a woman's past into modern reality, these lucid and uncanny lenses remaining on the eye far beyond her pages." ―Josephine Foster, musical artist
"With simplicity and wisdom, Amina Cain's Indelicacy strips away the clutter of the modern novel, leaving only her narrator’s concentrated attention and yearning. As a tribute to the history of its own form, Indelicacy manages to expand our ideas of both the classic and the contemporary." ―Tim Kinsella, music-maker and author of Sunshine on an Open Tomb
"Acutely observed, Indelicacy is an exquisite jewel box of a novel with the passion and vitality found only in such rare and necessary works as The Hour of the Star and The Days of Abandonment. Through this timeless examination of solitude, art, and friendship, Amina Cain announces herself as one of the most intriguing writers of our time." ―Patty Yumi Cottrell, author of Sorry to Disrupt the Peace
"Amina Cain's diligence, patience, and clarity of vision are unparalleled. This is a writer profoundly aware of the impact and import of silence. Her sentences echo long after they’ve landed on the page. Keep your eyes peeled for Indelicacy." ―Azareen Van der Vliet Oloomi, author of Call Me Zebra
"Indelicacy is a novel like the tolling of a great bell. It will move your heart. Amina Cain's writing is the rarest kind: it creates not only new scenes and characters, but new feelings." ―Sofia Samatar, author of Winged Histories
"I was spellbound by Amina Cain’s Indelicacy, partly because it is a lucid novel about human relationships, the soul, art, and change; partly because it is an intelligent yet raw tale about what ruptures are required to grow room for oneself; partly because of its witty juxtaposition of good and bad; but mostly because it is deeply original, like nothing I've ever read before." ― Gunnhild Øyehaug, author of Wait, Blink--This text refers to an alternate kindle_edition edition.
- ASIN : B07RZFD9Z9
- Publisher : Farrar, Straus and Giroux (February 11, 2020)
- Publication date : February 11, 2020
- Language : English
- File size : 2668 KB
- Text-to-Speech : Enabled
- Enhanced typesetting : Enabled
- X-Ray : Enabled
- Word Wise : Enabled
- Print length : 178 pages
- Lending : Not Enabled
- Best Sellers Rank: #471,244 in Kindle Store (See Top 100 in Kindle Store)
- Customer Reviews:
Top reviews from the United States
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Vitoria, the novel's major character, gives a first-person account of a segment of her life. Written as a personal introspection, she descibes details of her life's progression from an art museum's cleaning woman, discovered by a wealthy professional man who "rescued" her from a life of drudgery and near poverty to become his wife and matron of a large household with servants.
In a true pygmalion style, she describes her sudden joy with wealth and privilege along with her blissful joys of early marriage. A lover of the art where she once worked, she now returns as a lady patron to enjoy them, study them, and begins to write her feelings about them. She wants to become a writer, an author.
The nontraditional, nonchaptered structure of the narrative is a cross between a stream of consciousness and entries in a journal. The plotline is somewhat mysterious and ambiguous, while retaining a personal confessional of sorts, describing her newly found freedoms and individual development as a free thinker and master of her own soul. However, other than her passion for writing--- not shared by her husband---she soon loses her sense of life's wonders and opportunities. Never learning what her husband actually does professionally, she soon tires of his routine affections and his introducing her to many new experiences available to the wealthy. She describes her changing attitudes and perspectives, growing increasingly disillusioned and disappointed with others and herself until she knowingly creates the circumstances that end her marriage. Free at last, she faces an unknown future, but joyfully eager for her new beginning.
I enjoyed the author's skillful descriptions and irregular plotline, as Vitoria grows into becoming someone she detests and eventually rejects. This self-discovery narration generates a loss of self-worth and intrapersonal conflicts, reminiscent of Camus, Sartre, or Kafka, emphasizing dysfunctional and self-destructive behaviors. I wanted Vitoria to thrive, develop, and succeed, but found her increasing self-absorption and pettiness disappointing.
This thought-provoking short read, was both engaging and yet somewhat senseless, while portraying a woman given opportunities but without the training and structure to truly develop herself into something she and others might value and respect.
The author's storytelling deliberately avoids telling the setting of the story or the time period of these experiences, other than being in a large metropolitan area with many cultural opportunities. It seems many of the paintings described are owned by the Met in New York, but never explicitly described.
The Audible narration was effective for this shorter work, while not elaborating more about the author's storyline intensions.
It made me think and reflect deeply, but although generally pleased with the reading experience, I was left not fully satisfied.
One comment in the New York Times derisively subtitles the book "Cinderella Finds her Mojo." I can see that, but there's so much more. You can read it on many levels. It's Pilgrim's Progress without the God, The Handmaid's Tale without the State. The narrator writes simply and claims she dropped out of a philosophy course. I think the story finds its best home in the reader's own mind. You'll get from it what you're willing to bring to it. That can be said about most experiences.
This book made me furious, and then I got even more annoyed that I had been angered by something I should have brushed off as trivial. What got to me is how much this talks down to women. Who thinks this drivel is what we want to read? The author never met a metaphor she didn’t like, and that writing crutch soon grates. Example (possibly slightly paraphrased because I don’t have the book in front of me): “My notebook lay beneath the tree, like a fallen leaf. Someone would step on it, probably my husband.” Gag me with a cliche.
Top reviews from other countries
Very early on we learnt that she married a very wealthy husband – who is never named, nor do we know anything about his work. There is one brief mention of their uneventful first meeting, but we learn nothing about any kind of courtship that preceded the marriage. She now lives a life that is very comfortable and, as she herself recognizes, is decadent. She lacks for nothing material; her husband takes her on exotic holidays, and, in the beginning, sex is the best part of their relationship. She has her own room in which to write – though her husband does not believe that she, or, for that matter, any woman, can really write. There is a servant, Solange, with whom Vitoria tries to make human contact – but Solange rebuffs this, and their relationship becomes uneasy and even hostile.
There is actually less about Vitoria’s husband than there is about two of her friends: Antoinette, her fellow-cleaner at the Museum, and Dana, whom she met at a ballet school Vitoria had joined. She had lost touch with Antoinette for two years after Vitoria had left; but when they met again, Antoinette was married, was deeply in love with her husband, and was expectant – whereas Vitoria’s marriage had become arid: she did not want children, and no longer had sex with her husband. In fact, she now wanted her marriage to end, but hoped, for financial reasons, that it would be her husband rather than she who would end it. In a grotesque way, she actually achieved this: her husband asked her to leave, and, yes, he would provide for her.
The novella has its moments; but I did not enjoy it. Vitoria’s account – and especially the writings in her notebooks - frequently skitter around so inconsequentially and sometime so incomprehensibly that I was exasperated by it.
Thank you to Farrar, Straus and Giroux for providing an Electronic Advance Reader Copy via NetGalley for review.