Tuesday, November 29, 2011
Book Review of Cry to Heaven by Anne Rice
Author: Anne Rice
Publisher: Ballantine Books
Type of book: Castrati, Italy, Venice, homosexuality, 1715-1740s, Opera, Upper class, adult, homo-erotic scenes
Year it was published: 1982
In this mesmerizing novel, the acclaimed author of THE VAMPIRE CHRONICLES and LIVES OF THE MAYFAIR WITCHES makes real for us the exquisite and otherworldly society of the 18th century castrati, the delicate and alluring male sopranoes whose graceful bodies and glorious voices brought them the adulation of the royal courts and grand opera houses of Europe, men who lived as idols, concealing their pain as they were adored as angels, yet shunned as half-men.
As we are drawn into their dark and luminous story, as the crowds of Venetians, Neopolitans, and Romans, noblemen and peasants, musicians, prelates, princes, saints, and intriguers swirl around them, Anne Rice brings us into the sweep of eighteenth-century Italian life, into the decadence beneath the simmering surface of Venice, the wild frivolity of Naples, and the magnetic terror of its shadow, Vesuvius. It is a novel that only Anne Rice could have written, taking us into a heartbreaking and enchanting moment in history, a time of great ambition and great suffering-a tale that challenges our deepest images of the masculine and the feminine.
Only Tonio seemed to have depthness and psychology, other characters seemed to have very simple motivations, and despite Tonio being a well rounded character, a lot was lost on me as soon as Anne Rice moved on to Tonio seducing everyone around him. Honestly I don't understand Tonio, that is why he refuses and does certain things. Tonio seems to love Christina only because of her looks, in fact that's how he sees all women; as fragile roses. Besides Catrina, and Christina, sort of, the book contains no strong women characters; Tonio's mother is a drunken woman, and I am not sure why or how Carlo ruined her.
I don't understand the message of the book, besides the idea that love in this book is viewed through pain and suffering, sort of a master/slave motif.
This was written in third person omniscient point of view, from Guido's and Tonio's points of views. It gives good backgrounds for them both, their motivations, their desires, etc. the ending was a bit abrupt and one was curious to learn about Tonio and the woman, whether or not they stayed together or eventually parted, whether or not she was happy in the end.
October 04, 1941 in New Orleans, Louisiana, The United States
Horror, Historical Fiction
About this author
Anne Rice is a best-selling American author of gothic, supernatural, historical, erotica, and later religious themed books. Best known for her Vampire Chronicles, her prevailing thematical focus is on love, death, immortality, existentialism, and the human condition. She was married to poet Stan Rice for 41 years until his death in 2002. Her books have sold nearly 100 million copies, making her one of the most widely read authors in modern history.
She uses the pseudonym Anne Rampling for adult-themed fiction (i.e., erotica) and A.N. Roquelaure for fiction featuring sexually explicit sado-masochism.
In the past I've made attempts to read this book but due to the idea of the fact that Tonio will never have children, I stopped reading it as well. This time though I've read it all the way through, and realized something; just because I liked something in middle it doesn't mean I'll like it many years later. Anne Rice seemed to enjoy constant repetition and constant reminders of how beautiful Tonio and everyone else is, how much Tonio loves everything, etc. reading this and other things in the novel really got on my nerves. Also, this book contains plenty, and I do mean plenty of homosexual sex scenes, including some incest towards the end. Unlike the summary, I don't think it made me question the realms of men and feminine gender roles, and due to constant description, the action and everything else got lost. This book has an intriguing beginning, but falls flat as soon as Tonio becomes castrated.
2 out of 5
(0: Stay away unless a masochist 1: Good for insomnia 2: Horrible but readable; 3: Readable and quickly forgettable, 4: Good, enjoyable 5: Buy it, keep it and never let it go.)