Saturday, April 13, 2013

The Light in the Ruins

by Chris Bohjalian

I received an advanced copy of The Light in the Ruins. As a long time fan of this author I was was expecting a good read and I was not disappointed. Chris Bohjalian's style is so civilized, and his writing is so compelling, that even a grisly murder can be merely presented and not overdramatized. There is instead a thread of intensity running through the story that carries you along, won't let you go. 

It's all the more compelling when you find the bits of synchronicity and so called coincidence connecting people, places and moments in time. In fact, it draws you in, and makes you a part of the story itself. You can see the events through the eyes of the Marchese and Marchesa Rosati and their family. Francesca is the mother of small children, married to the older son of the family, while her husband Marco and his younger brother Vittore served their country.The youngest of the Rosati's children Christina Rosati lived there as well, little more than a child herself. 

Moving forward in time, to ten years after the war we meet up with this family again. Their lives, like the lives of all who lived through WWII were affected, or perhaps shattered is the better term. Their family was forever changed by events that occurred in the days before the end of the war. Some were affected more deeply than others for reasons that will be obvious as you read. 

Another revelation will be the synchronicity of the stories of the Rosati's, and another family. A single member of that family, Serafina Bettini is working as the only woman detective with the police department in Florence, Italy. A position she earned through her own wartime experiences. A position at which she appears to excel. 

The core of the story would be the events that occur at the Villa Chimera, the estate that the Rosati's called home. The place that one sunny day was the destination of two soldiers, one German, one Italian. Their arrival set in motion events that would affect lives of all of those who lived and worked on the estate. Even those who were merely there by happenstance. Even Bohjalian's soft touch with a story cannot feather away the horrors of WWII and the atrocities that occurred. Nothing and no one ever should. Also we would do well to remember that not all deaths are caused by war, that not every wound is healed by time and that we are, all of us, connected in some small way to each other

1 comment:

  1. I, too, was afforded an ARC of this one and absolutely loved it. I have been waiting for someone else to review this. If you are interested, here is the link to my goodreads review:

    I absolutely loved your review, by the way.