Sunday, August 4, 2013
Book Review: The Venetian Violinist, by Marcio Goncalves
Author: Marcio Goncalves
Drake Kingsley, widower and former best-selling writer finds himself afflicted with a terrible bout of writers block. Despite his foul-mouthed agent and close friend Alice's best efforts, Drake just can't seem to escape the troubles that follow him as he tries to come to terms with his loss and rebuild his life.
A brush with death lands Drake in hospital and his gardening-obsessed neighbour, Mrs Phyllis, advises him to go on a writers retreat in Venice, the place where he had gone on honeymoon with his wife Anne. He goes, in the hopes that by reliving some of his happiest memories, he will be inspired to overcome the writers block and move on with his life. Thus begins a journey that changes Drake's life beyond his wildest expectations...
THE GOOD: It isn't often that I read books by South African authors and/or set in South Africa, so it was refreshing to see familiar settings in this novel. Our main character, Drake Kingsley, is doing a fantastic job of messing up what's left of his life when we first meet him. He's had writer's block since the death of his beloved wife, and nothing can seem to pull him from it. After reaching rock bottom and attempting suicide, he takes a second shot at life by heading off to a writers' retreat in Venice.
Ah, Venice ... I loved catching a glimpse of this beautiful city I've always wanted to visit! It's here that Drake meets a small but eccentric group of writers who provide him with a number of entertaining moments throughout the novel. It seems at first that Drake still might not be able to find the words to write his next bestseller (what with his broken heart always turning to thoughts of his deceased wife, and mindless distractions like the seductive Elza in the room next door), but then he hears the music ... the enchanting melodies of the Venetian violinist on the street somewhere below his window ... and the words start to flow.
With the music unraveling the bonds of heartache and loneliness that have kept Drake prisoner for so long, will he finally be able to find love once more?
THE BAD: The writing itself could definitely be improved. Numerous typos. Frequent misuse of full stops and commas.
THE BOTTOM LINE: If you're looking for your happily-ever-after fix and can look past grammatical errors, this sweet romance about two broken people learning to love again might just be your thing.