Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Lo! Jacaranda: A Spanish Gypsy's Conte Jondo

(Deep Song of the Caves)
by Harry Freiermuth
2 stars for the novella, 4 stars for the illustrations
received for review

Where to even start?

This novella was strange.  Bawdy and disjointed and with a jumpy, inconsistent point-of-view.

I seldom read novellas or short stories, kind of specifically because I come away feeling like they lacked depth, and this was no exception.  Also, the coincidences boggled the mind and the completely random conversations (what can a person's gas passing tell us about them?...  Let me randomly, out of nowhere, advise you girls to strengthen your vaginal muscles.... Look at how these natives even accept homosexual marriages! [that one REALLY came out of NOWHERE]) didn't do anything for me.

The title makes more sense in terms of the author's inspiration than the actual story, and there were many instances where things characters did or said seemed completely unlikely for the setting/story.

Overall, I didn't love the story and it just felt really odd.

The paintings, however, are an entirely different matter.  Freiermuth has illustrated his novella with his own oil and watercolor paintings and they are awesome.  If this were just an art book (and I will confess the art was a main reason for requesting it for review) it would get 4 stars.

In fact, the only reason the art wouldn't get 5 is because it felt like some of the art was repetitive-- as though we were looking at a slightly different section of the same painting.

I really enjoyed the art-- I would love to see a book of just art from Freiermuth, or even an offering of cards with the prints or something.

At the end of the day, the writing was a miss for me, but the art was great.

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