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Love is Blind

Love is Blind

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love to Lika: 'Brodie kept a running calculation: from September 1898 to May 1899 - no sexual congress with Lika. Brodie’s Lika, we’re told, has “a little dog”, and before the novel is over she will have been referred to as “the lady with the little dog” – the exact title of one of Chekhov’s most celebrated short stories. Type “Lika” and “Chekhov” into Google and you come up with the fact that Lika Mizinova was a blonde, buxom would-be opera singer, probably the great love of his life: 19 years old when Chekhov started a ten-year affair with her that was still continuing when he was in Nice in 1897. You really get to know and believe in his characters, envisage the places they visit, and in this period piece, feel you are in the late 19th/early 20th Century.

Sooner or later, the gambler will lose his entire float, the losses from which will balance out the modest winnings.

Or perhaps he was just on a tight schedule, as the whole thing seemed hurried and badly in need of further attention. It was too depressing to contemplate; it made everything fragile, everything was now no more than a vague possibility – all probability and certainty had gone from his life. On the surface Love Is Blind has all the hallmarks of a slow-burning thriller—the event-packed story of a single decade in Brodie’s life . Overall, the plot itself was a slow going at times and I did get a little overwhelmed in some areas.

Even if the chances of winning were genuinely 2-to-1 (in practice, roulette is biased to the house) the expected winnings are zero. There are lots of female breasts (lots) and quite a lot of masturbation (not explicit) all of which render sex as a transaction rather than something more emotional, no matter how many times Brodie swears his undying (ha! I wish to thank Penguin Books Australia for providing me with a free copy of this book for review purposes. The novel is set in the late 19th and early 20th century, focusing on Brodie Moncur, a Scottish piano tuner. The apparent love between them seemed false and cumbersome, and it was always about when Brodie could get his next sex session.

The only strange thing – if you double your stake each time you lose – is that sometimes you can be betting 40 francs to win 2 – so you need a substantial float. I assumed that the flaw in the system would ultimately form a key plot point - but when it didn't it caused me to wonder if the author saw the flaw.

An especially effective duel set-piece around two-thirds of the way through manages simultaneously to cite Eugene Onegin (“not forgetting poor Pushkin, of course”) and, in its outrageous yet thrilling denouement, Chekhov’s famous maxim that a gun appearing in act one should be fired in act two.

No matter how implausibly exotic – Hemingway, the Duchess of Windsor – he placed them into the story as carefully as an expert fly fisherman, making sure there are no unnatural ripples on the surface. Regulars turned the pages of their Bibles looking for the verses that Malky had chosen as his text for his sermon. This is a tale that features numerous locations including Europe, Russia and the Andaman Islands in the Indian Ocean, taking in music, love, betrayal, revenge, and secrets with its wide cast of characters. His 5-hour adaptation of his novel Any Human Heart (Channel 4 2010) won the BAFTA for “Best Series”.

Sure enough, after Brodie and Lika embark on a dangerous affair under John Kilbarron’s nose and the “brown, watchful eyes” of his brother, calamity soon arrives, though from a shocking and completely unforeseen quarter. What kind of a world would it be where nothing ever went wrong, where everything stayed the same, life followed a designated path – family was adorable, friends and lovers were faithful and true? The second half kind of trailed off, and pointless characters entered the story with no real connection to what was happening, and nothing new to bring to the table. Pleasingly he’s not too good looking or too hideous – his great height (I’m thinking 6 foot 4 inches or thereabouts), his very dark, swarthy looks and severe short sightedness are easily envisaged. Even though he’s wearing his glasses, she’s standing “at the very limits of both the lenses in his Franklin spectacles”, as if he can’t quite get a purchase on who she is; as if she is, somehow, unknowable.

From the beginning of the book – concerned as it is with the relationship between life and art, truth and performance – there are hints that Chekhov is going to be important.



  • Fruugo ID: 258392218-563234582
  • EAN: 764486781913
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