My goal for several years has been to read 50 books in one calendar year – 52 weeks – but I have always fallen off the rails around 25 books. This year, I’m twice as determined. I will be posting short reviews of each book with my thoughts and any recommendations I received for the book as well as a link to purchase the book from Amazon, (though I recommend checking your local library first). If you have questions, leave a comment! If you want to follow my journey, find me on Goodreads.
Due to the nature of business we do at my office, we often hire in temps to help cover some shifts where we are short-staffed. One of our closest contacts with an agency is an avid consumer of television, movies, and books. We met her for lunch one day and, as usual, were late. We found her reading Marriage of Opposites by Alice Hoffman and I immediately asked for a synopsis. She gave me a brief intro and brought me the book several days later when she finished. I started on January 6 and finished on January 13. Her introduction didn’t do it justice.
This novel is a fictional presentation of Camille Pissaro’s life. Pissaro, a well-revered painter, is often considered a father of Impressionism and Post-Impressionism. These art movements occurred in the late 19th and early 20th centuries and are most widely known through Claude Monet’s Starry Night and the works of Vincent van Gogh (the guy who cut his earlobe off and mailed it to someone).
As an art minor, this was immediately fascinating to me. The novel is set on the island of St. Thomas, part of the British Virgin Islands located to the west of Puerto Rico in the Caribbean. I learned of Pissaro’s Jewish heritage and how the rigidity of such a liturgical religion isolated its followers on an island of mystical religious heritage.
The novel itself was slow at times – Hoffman’s writing style is very detailed and rhythmic. It’s easy to get bogged down in the slower moments of the plot – but overall, I was very impressed. It may have appealed to me more because of my art history background, but I thoroughly enjoyed the novel.
Goodreads rating: 3.86/5
My rating: 3/5 stars
Days read: January 6-13
Recommend: Yes, if you like historical fiction and art