Friday, February 4, 2011
Book Review - Rococo by Adriana Trigiani
Bartolomeo di Crespi (aka "B") is an interior designer and bachelor of a certain age who is hired to renovate the local church when he's not dealing with his sister (who's having an affair with her ex-husband), his platonic fiancé, a sultry international designer and a hunky artist brought onto the project.
With what level of seriousness can any reader accept a main character, Bartolomeo di Crespi, head of the House of Beauty, who's positioned as the town decorator for Our Lady of Fatima in New Jersey? On the other hand, it is truly a rollicking read, from Bart's mission/vision to redo the local church to his discovery of a genuine Modigliani statue that saves the job's finance after a wealthy local donor pulls the financial plug. The comic prose itself deserves applause.
I enjoyed the book, but I didn't love it. For some reason, be it the focus on design or the Catholic Church, I just couldn't get into this novel as much as Adriana Trigiani's other works. First off, I honest to goodness thought "B" was gay. His dress, his demeanor, his occupation (cliche, I know) all pointed me in that direction. He's a steadfast bachelor of the Italian sort, aka he slept his way through the novel. But that didn't match the persona Trigiani applied to him. Then the churchy stuff - I'm a Catholic girl, went to Catholic schools, but this just felt very goth to me with the statues and frescoes. It was too much for me to sink into. Add that to the fact that I know next to nothing about design while the main character spent too much time talking about it. Some humor was there, not enough. Some traditional Italian culture was present, not enough. I wouldn't recommend this as one of her better reads. But I'm still going to give her other novels a try.