I LOVE FRANCE!
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Published on June 6, 2013 by Alfred A. Knopf
In full compliance with FTC Guidelines, I received a free ARC paperback of this book
from the author Ania Szado via Saima Agency
in exchange for a fair and honest review.
I was in no way compensated for this post,
and the thoughts are my own.
The link above will take you to the author’s blog.
You can purchase her book
by clicking on the publisher’s link (hardcover, ebook).
This book counts for the following Reading Challenges:
MY THOUGHTS ABOUT THIS BOOK
2013 marks the 70th anniversary of the publication of The Little Prince. It then makes perfect sense to have a historical novel on one of France’s most beloved author, and the pride of the city of Lyon: Antoine de Saint-Exupéry. We know that he was a man of very complex character, and his love life seems to have had many layers of secrets and shadows.
Saint-Ex is the central figure of Studio Saint-Ex, a historical novel which tries to give a possible picture of what his relationship was with his wife and possible lovers. The book is rich in its presentations of characters, and they are quite characters! This is on the background of mostly New York in the 1940s just before the American participation in WWII. I liked the contrasted picture of the glamorous life in New York and what Antoine knows about his compatriots as they suffer in France.
The book deals a lot with 2 forms of art, writing and fashion designing, with their contrasts and parallels. Both are somewhat reconciled in an interesting twist with Le petit prince near the end of the novel.
If you still think The Little Prince is a beautiful children book, this novel will open your eyes on its more more complex dimensions. In fact, a few extra pages of Le petit Prince were recently discovered, and they did witness as well to some layer of the book often unknown to most readers.
I liked very much the writing in each chapter: tight, neat writing, with very good descriptions, especially of characters.
However, I was often confused by the change of narrator’s voice; it is sometimes in the 1st person, sometimes in the 3rd person, but the 1st person is not always the same person. The flashbacks and movements between times were also confusing, I was not always sure where and when I was, if I was in the present of the narrator or in his/her memory of past events. So I really struggled with the structural pattern of the novel, but again each chapter taken separately was beautiful writing to me, and you would like to discover Antoine de Saint-Exupéry more in depth, you should definitely consider this book.
“Love, not age, is the measure of a woman’s prime.” p.33
“His mind, like his character, was complex, accomplished, infuriating: it was that of a dedicated storyteller and a natural mathematician, of a highly religious man who didn’t quite believe in God, of an inventor of magical worlds and of patented mechanical gizmos, a war pilot who would never take up arms, that of a man whose greatest pleasure was friendship and whose greatest needs demanded solitude.” p.49
“This is silly. I have no need of English.”
“It can’t hurt to learn a little of it.”
“I am still trying to master my mother tongue. Why do you laugh? In writing, the syntax must be very precise. It is no different than flying: introduce one word too many, a bit of clumsiness, and one may crash. I have no wish to put my own language at risk by habituating myself to another one.” p.52
WHAT IS IT ABOUT
Set in Manhattan and Quebec City in 1943, Studio Saint-Ex is a fictionalized account of the love triangle among Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, his mercurial wife, Consuelo, and a young fashion designer. Mignonne Lachapelle leaves Montreal for New York to make her name, but is swept away by the charms of France’s greatest living writer. Nothing about their relationship is simple—not Antoine’s estranged wife who entangles Mig in her schemes to reclaim her husband, not his turmoil, and certainly not their tempestuous trysts or the blurring boundaries of their artistic pursuits. Yet the greatest complication comes in the form of a deceptively simple manuscript: Antoine’s work-in-progress, The Little Prince, a tender tale of loneliness, friendship, love, and loss in the form of a young prince fallen to earth.
Studio Saint-Ex is a deeply evocative love story of a literary giant caught between two talented and mesmerizing women, set in the glittering world of French expatriates in Manhattan during World War II. Reminiscent of The Paris Wife, Loving Frank, and The Rules of Civility, Studio Saint-Ex explores themes of love, passion, and creativity in sophisticated, literary prose. [Saima Agency]
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Author Ania Szado’s novel Beginning of Was was shortlisted for the Commonwealth Writers’ Prize (Best First Book, Canada/Caribbean), nominated for the international Kiriyama Prize, and was named a NOW magazine Top Ten book.
She lives in Toronto.
Please visit her website at http://www.aniaszado.com/studio-saint-ex.html.
REVIEWS BY OTHER BLOGGERS
HAVE YOU READ THIS BOOK?
APART FROM GHE LITTLE PRINCE,
HAVE YOU READ ANY OTHER BOOK
BY ANTOINE DE SAINT-EXUPERY?
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