53 of 58 people found the following review helpful
Not so much as the sumptuous magical feat as a parlour magic trick,
This review is from: The Lollipop Shoes (US title is The Girl With No Shadow) (Hardcover)
Having been a Harris reader now since the fantasmogorical Chocolat, I have come to expect a kind of magic from her writing. Whilst I enjoyed The Lollypop Shoes, it did not have the same effect as Chocolat, Coastliners, Blackberry Wine and the hugely successful Gentlemen and Players.
I was incredibly pleased to learn that Joanne Harris would be returning to the wonderful character, Vianne Rocher, although now hidden by the pseudonymn Yanne. At the end of Chocolat, I though that there was a lot more to be gleaned from Vianne. However, Harris does not use The Lollypop Shoes to elaborate or go much deeper with the character. However I must say that the interesting questions about Vianne's mother and the traditional vs conventional ideas about family makes for quiet comfort on this point. Vianne has run from ghosts who follow on the wind to Paris. Setting up a very small chocolaterie, she lives the life of a borrowed persona until Zozie de l'Alba blows in to liven up events. The story follows the changes and Harris is eagar to show that the glamourous Zozie is not as benign as she seems to Vianne's little family.
The prose is very well written, there is never any issue with this. Although it lacked a little of the usual magic of being able to envelop you completely, it was very good. However the plot is engaging right up until the very end where it falters slightly. Harris is famous for her ability to wind the plot coil so tightly that you are begging for an answer, an outcome, even a phone call, but The Lollypop Shoes left me with a feeling of the slightly disappointed bereft feeling. I thought that the book ended on a slight anti-climax whereas it could have ended with fireworks. I think that this is perhaps what has goaded me to give only three stars. Maybe it's just my opinion but I don't like to be left feeling deflated after a Harris novel. Perhaps I would feel more buoyant if I hadn't read a Harris novel before...
I particularly enjoyed the flamboyant and surprising character of Zozie de l'Alba. I found her transformations and her ideas about life and magic oddly refreshing, if a little sadistic. I also found little Rosette a very engaging little person, who, like Anouk, I would love to see more of in the future.
All in all, I thought it was a well written novel, however it lacked a little of the Harris magic I so adore. But it was enough to keep me happy until the next novel. My hat's off to you, Ms Harris!
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Initial post: 6 Jan 2009 15:40:36 GMT
Hils T says:
Interesting that you felt like that about the ending....I felt the same with Coastliners and Five Quarters of the Orange, as though there was a lot more to tell.
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