EPUB Ë · Jessie Burton

The MuseEr the tutelage of the glamorous and enigmatic Marjorie uick But though uick takes Odelle into her confidence and unlocks a potential she didn't know she had she remains a mystery no so than when a lost masterpiece with a secret history is delivered to the galleryThe truth about the painting lies in 1936 and a lar ‘’and that’s all that matters isn’t it? What people believe It doesn’t matter what’s the truth; what people believe becomes the truth’’ I finally found the time to read Jessie Burton’s sopho novel and I am very glad to conclude a wonderful reading month with a beautiful work of Fiction The Miniaturist is among my 10 all time favourite novels and while The Muse wasn’t as magical and haunting it was no less exciting and complexThe novel opens with Odelle a young woman from Trinidad who tries to find a better life and a chance to follow her love for poetry in London during the swinging ‘60s The narration is often transferred to Spain in the area of Arazuelo during the late ‘30s and the birthplace of an enigmatic painting that finds itself in the gallery where Odelle works Through Olive’s eyes we witness the political and social upheaval in the Iberian Peninsula and a woman’s fight to find a voice and a place of her own in the world of ArtSo the dual timeline trope is present in The Muse and is masterfully executed The sense of time and place is tangible and precise The depiction of London and the beautifully frenetic era of the ‘60s is so vivid you can actually ‘’see’’ the colours of the clothes and the pop art and listen to the songs that marked one of the most fascinating eras in History Through Odelle’s memories of Trinidad the writing acuires a fresh sultry and sad Caribbean aura that is uite uniue and perfectly balanced with the London atmosphere What is interesting is the way Burton manages to create a darker feeling each time the narration moves under the shadow of the Andalusian sun Despite the sunny hills the aroma of the fruit and the luxurious background of Olive’s terribly dysfunctional family the threat of the civil war is present everywhere Hypocrisy is mixed with suspicion and the chances for a woman to be acknowledged for her skills and intelligence and not for her father’s walet are slim Even people who claim to be fighting for euality and act in a completely opposite manner look upon women as feeble creatures who only act on a whim devoid of feelings and thoughts ‘’Women can’t do it you see They haven’t got the vision although last time I checked they had eyes and hands and hearts and souls I’d have lost before I’d even had a chance’’ The lives of Odelle and Olive are interlocked and it is clear that not many things have changed through the years Olive isn’t allowed to pursue her dream and Odelle is considered an Other an exotic bird that only half belongs if at all in her new surroundings Lies and obsession are two major themes in the novel because truth is dangerous It can destroy a life’s work along with Love The men of the story aren’t exactly exemplary creations of their sex they’re unable to love hiding behind the curtain of a utopian society utopian for them and an anarchy for everyone else and the utter motive of personal gain If women are naive enough they fall into the trap and the conseuences are terrible This brings me to my only complaint regarding The Muse Although I try not to compare books written by the same author it is my impression that The Muse lacked the uniue characters of The Miniaturist Odelle and Olive are uite interesting and their voice is clearly heard but they’re not heroines we haven’t seen before I found I anticipated Odelle’s chapters than Olive’s because the latter’s love affair with Isaac was irritating and too melodramatic for my liking Isaac is an utterly loathsome creature in my opinion A brute with brutal ideas a coward who tries to act like a revolutionary but is neck deep in lies deceit and views that serve savagery and anarchy His sister is a much better character uite enigmatic but not enough to attract my interest in the Arazuelo storyline So while London’s narrative was uite exciting the action set in Spain was far less satisfying for meAlthough The Muse isn’t as atmospheric mystical and haunting as The Miniaturist it is an excellent work of Historical Fiction With a number of twists and rich in beautiful imagery and evocative prose it is one reason for me at least to anticipate that Jessie Burton will go on giving us wonderful novels for many years to comeMy reviews can also be found on

BOOK The Muse

FREE EBOOK ¾ EPUB The Muse ä í A picture hides a thousand words On a hot July day in 1967 Odelle Bastien climbs the stone steps of the Skelton gallery in London knowing that her life is about to change forever Having struggled to find her place in the city since she arrived from Trinidad five years ago she has been offered a job as a typistGe house in rural Spain where Olive Schloss the daughter of a renowned art dealer is harbouring ambitions of her own Into this fragile paradise come artist and revolutionary Isaac Robles and his half sister Teresa who immediately insinuate themselves into the Schloss family with explosive and devastating conseuenc 35 starsHaving previously read Jessie Burton’s The Miniaturist I was uite excited to pick up a copy of her newest novel The Muse I must say that although this one was a decent read I enjoyed The Miniaturist I think what captured me with her earlier novel was the atmosphere and the characters The mood in The Miniaturist was stifling but in a way that intrigued me and pulled me into the story I became attached to the main character there but less so here However the premise of The Muse was compelling enough to keep me turning pages I was invested in the mystery and needed to follow it through to the conclusionThe Muse utilizes a dual storyline alternating between late 1960s London and civil war torn 1930s Spain I typically enjoy this approach and for the most part it worked for me here We see London through the eyes of Odelle Bastien an immigrant and aspiring writer from Trinidad Odelle has become disenchanted with her vision of England I thought London would mean prosperity and welcome A Renaissance place Glory and success I thought leaving for England was the same as stepping out of my house and onto the street just a slightly colder street where a beti with a brain could live next door to Elizabeth the ueen Having worked in a shoe store with her best friend for far too long Odelle uickly seizes an opportunity to work as a typist at the Skelton gallery Here she will encounter the impenetrable character that is Marjorie uick uick always insisted on skirting her own truths whilst getting to the core of yours uick takes Odelle under her wing and urges her to pluck up the courage to follow her lifelong dream of writing One day a mysterious painting arrives at the Skelton unearthed by a young man named Lawrie Scott Odelle becomes immersed in discovering the origins of this very remarkable work of art Jumping back in time to 1930s Spain the Schloss family – Harold Sarah and daughter Olive – have rented a country estate from a duchess where as outsiders they will experience the political unrest of a divided nation The Schlosses soon cross paths with brother and half sister Isaac and Teresa Robles Olive’s relationship with these two becomes uite complex and where she stands with both is not always clear to her Isaac is an artist and an agitator Teresa is cagey and Olive is not certain if she can be trusted or if she truly is the greatest of friends She had never had a friend like this in her private room combing her hair listening to her talking about silly nonsense and the uselessness of one’s parents; how the future was perfect because they hadn’t lived it yet Olive’s father Harold is an art dealer who takes a professional interest in Isaac while Olive herself feels restrained by the options afforded her due to her gender as well as her father’s small minded prejudices Turmoil and violence within Spain eventually escalate and the Schlosses and the Robles’ will find themselves directly enmeshed with the struggles of this country I enjoyed the mystery behind the extraordinary painting and though I never really became fond of Odelle I did hope she would find some answers and perhaps her own personal success As with two other recent books involving works of art I savored the descriptions of paintings the hard work and dedication of the artist However having completed The Swan Thieves by Elizabeth Kostova just prior to this novel I unfortunately couldn’t help making comparisons The characters in The Muse just did not fascinate me to the same extent The dialogue did not always ring true nor did the relationships Perhaps it is unfair to compare the two books but I really can’t help it after having read them both consecutively Because this book did contain enough to hold my interest I would certainly not hesitate to read the next Jessie Burton novel She does spin an interesting tale

Jessie Burton · The Muse DOC

A picture hides a thousand words On a hot July day in 1967 Odelle Bastien climbs the stone steps of the Skelton gallery in London knowing that her life is about to change forever Having struggled to find her place in the city since she arrived from Trinidad five years ago she has been offered a job as a typist und At first I wasn’t planning to read this book The Miniaturist didn’t impress me and I wondered if I should give Jessie Burton another try when there are so many new authors to discover Then I realized the reason why The Miniaturist didn’t work for me is that a certain plot turned out random and pointless at the end but I loved the characters and the writing itself So I thought if The Muse avoids this problem it has the potential to be very good And it is In fact it’s beautifulYes yes I know The mystery is predictable And yes I guessed the mysterious character’s identity pretty early on But so what? I feel it’s wrong to think of this book as a mystery It’s not about solving the puzzle; it’s about so much elseSuch as1 Art artists and the relationship between theseThis book is about inspiration and the process of creation About working in anonymity for the sole purpose of working vs creating for acclaim or compensation and about the freedom the former brings The novel also touches on how the definition of art depends on people’s perception “Was the difference between being a workaday painter and being an artist simply other people believing in you or spending twice as much money on your work?” We also see how artists are often unable to separate themselves from their work “Like most artists everything I produced was connected to who I was and so I suffered according to how my work was received The idea that anyone might be able to detach their personal value from their public output was revolutionary” So so true and that’s something many artists struggle with If someone doesn’t like your work it doesn’t mean they think you’re a terrible person but at times this is difficult to believe2 Immigration integration and the disillusionment that comes alongOdelle’s experiences in London were depicted really well Her hopeless job search her frustration with locals knowing nothing about Trinidad although it was a part of the empire while she knows so much about London always having to prove herself always having to work five times as hard to be at the same level as her peers everyone constantly misspelling and mispronouncing both her surname and her given name in ridiculous ways And most of all Odelle’s own feelings about her experience “I thought London would mean prosperity and welcome A Renaissance place Glory and success I thought leaving for England was the same as stepping out of my house and onto the street just a slightly colder street where a beti with a brain could live next door to Elizabeth the ueen You don’t say This is such a common phenomenon – some people who’ve grown up in poor regions think that places like England are these magical lands where money grows on trees and the moment you manage to get there everything becomes perfect and beautiful While this way of thinking is less common nowadays with the easier spread of information it’s still prevalent I spent over a year living in London and at the end it wasn’t the place for me And now whenever I go back home I always get comments like “But how could you possibly leave London? It must have been incredible If only I could move there” The reality is not that straightforward and the book shows this beautifully3 Class and cultureA very wealthy English Austrian family moves to a poor region of Spain The reaction of the local people is very realistic – they try to benefit from the visitors while at the same way not getting too close knowing these people are only passing through and will one day leave The daughter Olive struggles with this reaction She wants to be taken seriously to show that this is her home and that their fights are her fight It’s no surprise that no one believes her and everyone thinks it’s all a game to her At any point she can get on her ship and leave war and danger behind But Olive is determined and she proves her loyalty in the most heartbreaking way possible4 The original complex characters and the relationships between themThat’s one thing this book has in common with The Miniaturist And it’s a reason enough to read both “She had never had a friend like this in her private room combing her hair listening to her talking about silly nonsense and the uselessness of one's parents; how the future was perfect because they hadn't lived it yet” However I wasn’t sure about a couple of things For example Odelle’s dialect when she talks to her childhood friend I can’t vouch for it’s authenticity the one person from Trinidad I talk to on a daily basis speak nothing – absolutely nothing – like that but he’s an Indo Trinidadian unlike Odelle and he comes from a slightly later time so I guess it’s possible However whenever Odelle speaks to the reader in her own voice she sounds nothing like that so it’s a bit strange She either speaks like this naturally or she doesn’t but the constant switching doesn’t make much senseThe book leaves some uestions unanswered such as how does view spoilerTeresa hide spoiler