Rendezvous in Venice-Philippe Beaussant
novel(la) in translation
Pierre learns, to his utter shock, that his uncle, with whom he'd had an emotionless, art historical mentorship relationship, had a love affair.
Okay, let me take this off my chest. The hero worship was THE WORST. Charles is such a pompous ass and his nephew struck me as an emotionally stunted groupie. I don't know if I'm just more realistic but I never assume that the people I know don't have private passions so Pierre's shock that his uncle had a lover was just baffling to me. Like, why would I care baffling. There was so much melancholy that I spent the entire novel kind of vacillating between feeling the chill of a lack of emotion and being annoyed by the frequent invitations to the self-pity party. It's not even like the love story was a great romance, in fact, in keeping with my estimation of the male narrators in the story, I thought they acted like pompous asses while 'in love'. (I'd argue against calling it love in a way because the set up...really wasn't convincing in the least.) The publisher's blurb makes this seem like it's going to be a much more cheery and eventful story than it was. Instead you get a lot of detailed art history (many with which I disagree but that's besides the point) and shallow, superficial characterization with a prose and plot approach that left me really cold and dissatisfied.