7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
A skilful weave,
This review is from: The Lady and the Unicorn (Paperback)
This is the story of a set of six tapestries, and their effects on the lives of the people whose lives they touch. There is a lecherous but gifted painter, a grim man of power and his vibrant daughter, a put-upon master weaver, his diverse family and a number of others; the great thing is that you will care about them all.
The tale is told by a succession of narrators, each of whom is responsible for some aspect of the tapestries, either in their inspiration or their making - occasionally both. Each of the main characters gets to tell a part of the story. Whilst all have their own perspective and an individual voice, the style of writing remains uniform; characters are distinguished by what they say, not by how they say it. This seems to be an act of deliberate restraint, and the overall effect of the shared narration is to underline the cooperative way that many hands interact to produce a single coherent tapestry.
Along the way I learned a little about fifteenth-century Paris and Brussels and a little more about weaving and tapestries; this book certainly left me wanting to see the Lady and Unicorn first hand. But at the time time as she spins a genuinely interesting interpretation of a work of art, Tracy Chevalier succeeds in bringing to life a set of characters whose lives are touched by tragedy, triumph, sacrifice and salvation.
Unlike the tapestries, this book is modest in its scale and pretensions; it will not eat up vast amounts of anyone's time. But it is a skilful and satisfying interweaving of its component threads. It is the first of this author's books that I have read; now I can't wait to get hold of her others.