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Star Gazing: An epic, uplifting love story unlike any you’ve read before Paperback – 29 May 2008
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This was a joy to read from the first page to the last...Romantic and quirky and beautifully written (Lovereading * ‘Shamelessly romantic tale set in Scotland with a blind woman…Her ability to ‘see’)
through music is beautifully handled. A fascinating love story (The Bookseller * 'A story of love, music, and nature...very engaging...an enjoyable novel by a reliably good writer’)
"A read for diehard romantics with a bent towards environmental issues."See all Product description
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Music fills her world and she is a great lover of opera she says it "pours a vision of a wider world into her ears" (taken from chapter 1) she also tells us in the same chapter "music goes directly to her heart, it pierces her soul and stirs her with nameless emotions, countless ideas and aural pictures". Simply beautiful.
One of my most favourite parts is early on in the book when Marianne meets Kier whilst seated in Edingburgh’s Royal Botanic Garden 'listening' to the trees. She tells us in Chapter 2 that she can find her own way to the ‘Botanics’ as she has “memorised her route as a sequence of numbers”.
In chapter 2 Kier asks Marianne if she would like him to describe himself to her. She asks at one point “if the colour of your hair were a smell, what would it be?” at first he says “That’s a tough one. It’s a rich brown. Goes a bit red in the summer.” “Useless. I need smells” Marianne tells him. Then on the second attempt he gets it perfectly right “Walnuts. Walnuts when you crack them open at Christmas”. Isn’t that description so delicious? Linda Gillard has got descriptive writing down to a pure art form.
From this beautiful book I learned how to cherish the gifts I was born with, I take nothing for granted. I purchased and now often listen to some of the music mentioned in the book. I close my eyes and listen to it from Marianne’s viewpoint. I love to walk around my environment and take in everything, especially when strolling through the woods. I inhale my surroundings; I listen to the wind & rain in the trees. Everything is so beautiful, oh and yes like Marianne I have been known to hug a tree or two. (My favourite local trees are the imported Redwoods in Queenswood, Hereford, West Midlands UK. The texture of the bark is amazing, they really invite you to touch them in my mind they are truly caress-able LOL)
A truly beautiful book & my favourite one of all time. One of the few books I read over and over again. Very highly recommended.
My optician can do no more to help me to see any better, but recommends that I take frequent breaks from books and the computer. When I asked how frequent, he thought that after every twenty minutes I should rest my eyes for ten minutes.
As you can imagine, this upset me a great deal as everything I love to do involves wearing my glasses. Refusing to co-operate is not really an option, for if I forget, I get the most awful giddiness and nausea.
So, was reading a book about blindness a good idea?
In a way it was, for far from being a sad book, I was introduced to a very different world, one full of the importance of touching, and noises, smells and emotions. The way someone can describe what the rest of us see, in such a way that a blind person can ‘see’ it too.
For example, ‘ice’ was described as ‘frozen music’.
What made me think was the power our memories have, and how somebody who has no memories can manage to create some, even if they cannot see.
By chance, she meets Keir.
A man of Skye, he is every bit the brusque, resourceful Scot. But beneath this almost rude exterior there is something special about Keir; a sixth sense, which manifests itself as a sensitive and tangible medium to Marianne; and who could fail to be moved by a man who wanted to `show' her the stars?
Without sight, we are wholly reliant on the other senses, so as an author, a massive challenge to not only `see' from this perspective, but also to get across the small nuances of a romantic relationship between a blind woman, and a sighted man. Deprived of the conventional tool of vision, even in fiction, we are led so much deeper into the story and the perception of being blind adds a unique dimension. Music and sounds as a medium for description is beautifully portrayed and the Isle of Skye is a perfect, evocative backdrop.
I loved the gentle humour, more often than not provided by the dialogue between Marianne and her sister Louisa, who is a vampire novelist, (not forgetting Louisa's Gothic styled boyfriend!) all made for a good mix of light and dark.
As a love story, this novel clearly demonstrates how powerful 'subtle' and 'insightful' can be. There are not many books that fill me with moments of awe, but this one did, and not only for how much we take eyesight for granted. Some of the prose made me shiver. I could feel this book.
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