Book Reviews: Voltaire's Calligrapher

Monday, November 22, 2010


Voltaire’s Calligrapher
by Pablo De Santis
★★

Dalessius is a 20-year-old calligrapher who ends up working for the philosopher Voltaire in France during the Enlightenment. Interesting enough premise, but the plot never found its pace for me. It felt disjointed and confusing. There are automatons, secret messages written on naked women, a heart in a jar and other intriguing concepts, but they never mesh into a cohesive story.

The book is only 150 pages and yet it felt like it was much longer. I found myself never wanting to pick it up and I can’t help but wonder if something was lost in translation. Maybe the plot makes more sense in its native language.

I did really enjoy some of Santis’ descriptions of the people Dalessius meets on his journeys. Here’s one description of a watchmaker…

“Her many years around clocks had given her words a regular beat, as if each syllable corresponded exactly to a fraction of time.”

I received a complimentary copy of Voltaire’s Calligrapher by Pablo De Santis from Regal Literary to review.

6 comments:

Vaishnavi said...

I am sorry you didn't like the book. I had thought of picking it up because the title itself seems intriguing but now I am not so sure. Thanks for sharing :)

Alexandra said...

I’ve seen the cover around and it caught my eye… too bad it’s a case of “don’t judge a book by the cover”!

Nymeth said...

Sorry to hear you were let down! You know something is really wrong when a book that short drags. Sadly I had a similar experience recently with a 120 pages novella :\

irisonbooks said...

I'm sorry to hear this didn't work for you. It is weird how a short book can seem so endless at times.

BookQuoter said...

Thanks, you just saved me precious time. I would probably have picked it up too!!

Avid Reader said...

The plot sounded good, I love the cover, even the title is great. Sometimes looks can be deceiving.