Friday, July 16, 2010
Thursday, July 15, 2010
THE BLIND CONTESSA’S NEW MACHINEBy Carey Wallace
207 pages. Pamela Dorman Books/Viking. $23.95.
The Contessa Carolina Fantoni is a 19th-century Italian beauty and a loner who spends her youth in blissfully unattended reverie at a lakeside cottage on her family’s property. Carolina’s childhood friend and neighbor, the eccentric inventor Pellegrino Turri, is older by a decade, but the two are bound by their curiosity and quirks. Shortly after becoming engaged to the town’s most eligible bachelor, Carolina realizes that her eyesight is slowly slipping away. But nobody believes her except for Turri. As the real word fades, Carolina begins to see in her dreams. And when her marriage goes the way of her vision, Carolina and Turri’s long-dormant passion blossoms into something potent enough to inspire the invention of... the typewriter. If the story sounds familiar, that’s because Carey Wallace based her debut novel — it feels more like a fairy tale, really — on a true story.