Book Review: The Venetian’s Wife by Nick Bantock

What I thought would be a novel about a Victorian era turned out to be a quest to completing a collection of magnificent sculptures from Ancient India. What really interested me about the book was the title as I was looking for something to break away from the usual reading that I did about my […]

Book Review: The Venetian’s Wife by Nick Bantock

What I thought would be a novel about a Victorian era turned out to be a quest to completing a collection of magnificent sculptures from Ancient India.

What really interested me about the book was the title as I was looking for something to break away from the usual reading that I did about my usual authors. This turned out to be a fusion of artworks and Indian myth, and the quest of a computer-ghost to complete the lost collection in order to be reunited with his beloved after a forced separation of five hundred years.

This is my first time to read Nick Bantock and I find his approach to Indian art and myth quite interesting, not to mention short. The story centers on Sara Wolfe who is a curator for a museum and how she is employed by a mysterious Mr. Conti to locate the remaining four sculptures of his vast collection.

Highlights of the Book: Themes, Issues and Characterization
(Warning: May Contain Spoilers)

There are three things about The Venetian’s Wife that I find rather interesting to note. First, the book features collages of art works and captivating sculptures that introduce the beliefs of Indian myth. Here again are the customs of their gods and the concept of reincarnation, as well as the journey of life itself.

Second, one gets to meet interesting characters who have their own story to tell, their reverence and attachments to each of the sculptures. This is where the acquisition of ancient treasures and works of art of private individuals and collectors resurface, instead of returning them to their country or place of origin under the care of the people to carefully preserve them.

The recurring themes are all about passion, love, religion and life. These are seen in Sara’s growth as she takes the first step in her freedom and the way she is able to take a firmer grasp of love. Likewise, Niccolo Conti does everything in his power to fulfil his wife’s wishes as well as his desire to be reunited with her again after a very, very long time. Both employer and employee have a deep reverence for life and the way the Indian deities have exercised their powers.

Who Could Enjoy This Book?

Seeing that the book is all about growth, Indian myth and art, Nick Bantock’s book may well be interesting for people who want to learn about the Indian deities, sculptures and about art collecting. It is a light read, sprinkled with beautiful collages, photographs and paintings, and it is only 130 pages. It makes for a good weekend read and gives a sense of what an art collector does whether for self-satisfaction or working for an employer, even for a mysterious one.

About the Author

Nick Bantock is the bestselling author of the illustrated trilogy Griffin and Sabine, Sabine’s Notebook and The Golden Mean and also Averse to Beasts all published under Chronicle Books. He has written and illustrated nine other books and he is currently residing on an island off Vancouver, British Columbia with his wife and children.

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