8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
The Art of Moonlight,
This review is from: Nocturne: A Journey in Search of Moonlight (Hardcover)From the start I think I need to make it clear that there are some excellent sections in this book. But I also need to make it clear that I found it disappointing, and at time frustrating. I concede this may be due to my own interests rather than the book, but I will try and explain.
The sub-title for the book as it stands is "A Journey through Moonlight" - and I suppose I anticipated this would be about a personal journey - an actual journey - to find and experience moonlight. While some of the book does live up to this anticipation, I felt that much of the book was taken up with detailed account of other peoples experiences of moonlight. And almost without fail those "other people" were landscape painters. Now, if the book had been called "Nocturne: A journey in Search of Moonlights History" that may have been justified - but that's not the book's title. At times there are considerable sections of the book that explain who one artist worked with and influenced another and the types of painting they produced. Now, as you may have gathered, I am not an art buff, but I was unable to visualize more than about 10% of the works referred to in this book - and we are not provided with a single illustration either.
When the book concentrates on what the author did, rather than what someone else painted, the book really does come to light. The two sections that stand out are a visit to Japan and an American "moonlight concentrator" - both are unusual and interesting. Without saying too much, the writing of the book may have been hindered by less than cooperative weather, and this could be why so much of it feels second hand.
The central idea off the book, that because of artificial light we have been cut off from the moon and the stars is a splendid idea for a book, but I don't think this book really goes far enough to find these places.
I want to give this book 3 ½ stars - but I can't. So I'm giving it 3.
If you are interested in art and landscape in that order this may be the book for you, but if you are looking for a book that concentrates largely on an individual journey to reconnect with moonlight in a brightly illuminated world, you may, like me, find this book a bit of a disappointment.