Monday, 27 February 2017

Does Fame Inhibit Creativity?

The Muse : Jessie Burton

I imagine that having huge success, especially with the first thing you create, is very daunting.  It might prevent you creating anything again, as nothing feels as if it measures up to your stellar first effort.

Jessie Burton had international acclaim with her first novel The Miniaturist.  In her second venture into the literary world the author explores this challenge:  Odelle Bastien, with her dreams of becoming an author and Olive Schloss, who longs to be an artist and earn her art dealer father's recognition, both girls struggle with the challenge of creating for an audience which already has high expectations of their capability.

The voice and story of Odelle, who's made her way to cold, unforgiving British shores from Trinidad, is rich and colourful.  The passages of the novel which revolve around Odelle are rich and lively, with humour and mystery.  She takes prejudice in her stride, but is at her most relaxed alongside her best friend Cynthia who travelled with her from the West Indies.

Time spent in Spain with Olive and her parents seems less up-beat, partly because her parents' lives are fractured and because Olive feels so invisible.   The country is on the brink of war, but revolution is on the family's doorstep because Isaac & his sister Teresa, who help around the property are embroiled in right-wing activities.

Due to a misunderstanding (which starts as a mistake, but is soon purposefully encouraged)  Olive's vibrant, and unusual painting gets launched with Isaac as the front man, making a big noise in the art world.  Years later, at the Gallery in London where Odelle works, a painting surfaces which appears to be by Isaac - but in order to feature in an exhibition there must be an investigation into its provenance (remind you of The Girl You Left Behind?) and this mystery was, for me was the power that drove the novel forward.

I really enjoyed this book, perhaps the storyline around Odelle and the gallery more than Olive's development as an artist.  I can't deny being slightly disappointed by the speed at which the book was wrapped up.  It had surprises, it tied up loose ends, but it felt slightly rushed, in comparison with the languid speed at which the rest of the novel unfolded.

Elvis has Not left the Building : J R Rain

This book has a lot of comedy! I love the concept of Elvis Presley being alive and well, making a living as a Private Investigator. Aaron King has re-invented himself since he spectacularly faked his death in the 70s. He reinvented himself with plastic surgery, he has therapist, an on again/off again girlfriend (who is gossipy) a friend who's an attorney (and knows his true identity) - his life is full of conflict about what he can say and do around people. He also has huge guilt over abandoning his daughter, a yearning to perform again, while the battle with alcohol and prescription drugs is ever-present.

Mr King has is a PI specializing in finding missing persons (usually children). In this adventure he's tasked with locating a beautiful young starlet; A case which both the Police and other abandoned when the trail went cold.

I was first introduced to Aaron King in the Samantha Moon series, where the detective is a young mother, forced to work at night since being turned into a vampire. In American Vampire King is enlisted to track down a little girl who has been abducted by a very bad man, he and Samantha must follow a trail to 'Sin City' to rescue her before the unthinkable happens. I loved the elder statesman JR Rain created, trying to keep under the radar yet is still imbued with a big attractive personality and unmistakable southern charm. I resolved to read more about him, and this book did not disappoint!

No comments:

Post a Comment