12 April 2017

The Muse by Jessie Burton - Book Review

One of the first books I read in 2017 was Jessie Burton's The Muse, which had been laying on my shelf for more than three months when I got it for my birthday. Having read The Miniaturist and loved every single bit of it, I knew I was going to enjoy The Muse just as much - Burton is one of those authors whose writing won't disappoint you.
The plot revolves around two fascinating female characters: Odelle Bastien, a Trinidadian typewriter in 1967 London, and Olive Schloss, a British-German daughter of an art dealer in 1936 Spain. Despite the two being so different and their lives set apart in diverse eras and places, an art masterpiece will intertwine the two women's lives through the mysterious and glamorous figure of the old art-dealer Marjorie Quick.

As in her first novel, Burton managed to create a unique plot describing characters beautifully. One unusual element of her writing style is the ability to depict people in all their shades, such as uncomfortable, judgemental feelings that we get from some people around us but that we never write or speak of. This is so strong in Odelle's awkwardness around Quick, or Teresa's around Olive, and Olive's with her parents. The infinite ways in which characters relate to one another in this book is unique and I really enjoyed it. I also liked Burton's approach to the topic of love and relationships without making them awkward, a task hard to achieve for any author.

The language used in the book is so rich and unique - each word so well thought out. I would love to try and translate extracts of the book as I feel it would offer so many great linguistic challenges (yes, I'm a language nerd!).

Despite The Muse being a great novel, I occasionally found it quite intense and would not exactly recommended it as a light read. However, it is also very enjoyable, and if you're into art history and drama I would definitely go for it.

Goodreads: 5/5.

Have you read The Muse and how did you find it?

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