Spring 2000. Paul Geddes visits Venice to research the fin-de-siècle opera singer, Esme Maguire, seeking out a cache of papers held by Eva Forrest, the widow of a collector. What he reads begins in the 1680s, moving through the city s later history of Enlightenment and Revolution, describing a life stretched beyond human possibilities.
She travels across Europe to sing in Regency London and Edinburgh, then Belle Epoque Paris, always returning to Venice, its shadows and its luminosity, its changes and its permanence.
What would it be like to live for nearly 300 years, as an exceptional being who must renew herself time after time, as those she has loved age and die? Could this story be grounded in reality or be merely the product of an ageing woman s delusion, as Paul suspects.
Warily, Eva and Paul fall in love, their tentative emotions bringing them closer until, on a trip to the Dolomites, Eva s past catches up with her.
The Hourglass is the first novel I have read by Liz Heron and I found it to be interesting and really a love song to Venice which is the finest character in the book.
Paul Geddes travels to Venice in search of information but what he finds is an awful lot more. He finds Eva and the tale of a lady that has lived for 300 years. Constantly reinventing herself and living an extraordinary life.
The Hourglass is bold in scope and cinematic in feel. It got a little confused on occasion as to what was what but this was due I feel to the complexity and the time span of the plot. I loved the fact this was set in Venice, I have never been and there was some great imagery here for the reader to enjoy.
A story of love, opera and Venice. An exploration of identity and being able to reinvent yourself.
The only thing that I struggled with was the characters I didn't find them totally absorbing and as I adore a character driven novel I struggled with this just a little. Having said that I feel the plot and the sense of place more than made up for this.
Original and engaging.
About the Author:
Liz Heron grew up in Scotland and studied at Glasgow University. After living in Paris, Madrid and Venice, she embarked on freelance life in London, contributing arts and literary journalism to Spare Rib, The New Statesman, The Listener, The Village Voice, New Society, The Guardian and many other publications. Her literary translations from French and Italian range from Georges Bataille and Giorgio Agamben to the novels of Paola Capriolo. Her own books include Truth, Dare or Promise, a compilation of essays on childhood, and Streets of Desire, an anthology of women’s 20th-century writing on the world’s great cities, both published by Virago, as was her short-story collection, A Red River (1996).
Liz began researching her novel, The Hourglass, during her second spell of life in Venice.
Her website is lizheron.co.uk
She writes a blog, mainly on film: lizheron.wordpress.com
Please do have a look at the other stops on the blog tour.