Title: Een schitterend gebrek
Author: Arthur Japin
Publisher: Uitgeverij De Arbeiderspers
My Source: My neighbour (thank you!)
My Score on Goodreads: 5 stars (would give it 6 if I could)
Blurb (in Dutch)
Lucia en Casanova leren elkaar kennen op een feest nabij Venetië, worden verliefd en beloven elkaar eeuwige trouw. Maar kort daarna verdwijnt Lucia plotseling uit Casanova's leven. Vele jaren later ontmoeten ze elkaar in een Amsterdamse schouwburg bij toeval opnieuw. Hij heeft er geen weet van dat zij het is omdat ze haar gezicht onder een sluier verbergt, en hij probeert haar te veroveren op de van hem bekende wijze.
Voor Lucia is de schokkende confrontatie aanleiding tot een reconstructie: haar jeugd in de Veneto, haar kortstondige maar heftige liefde voor Casanova, de verwoestende ziekte die haar trof, haar vlucht naar Amsterdam en haar werk als hoer. Langzaam wordt duidelijk dat haar verdwijning geen verraad was, maar een daad van liefde.
I didn't plan on reading this book. I hadn't heard about it or about the author AT ALL. Shame on me! But then there was my lovely neighbour who asked me if I had ever read this book. When I told her "Nope", she lent it to me, after which I read it in one day. AND I TOTALLY LOVED IT!
At first I was I little reserved. Would I be able to like a book about Casanova? I don't have a thing with this man and I hate the fact he is known as a womanizer. Juk! But then, I started reading... and reading. And I kept on reading without being able to put the book down. I liked the way the whole story is told from the perspective of Lucia, the first and only real love of Casanova. She tells everything in first person and switches between the present and the past. In this pendulum we get to know who the real Casanova was before he was disappointed in love and started to court every single woman he met. It made me like this man even though I started the book standing aloof.
Lucia is a great character. She was only fourteen years old when she met Casanova(while he was a guest)at the mansion where she and her parents worked for a rich lady. She loved him right away and it seemed to be mutual. When Casanova leaves the house to make a career and promises her to come back, this means the world to Lucia. She hopes he can be whatever he wants to be and she certainly hopes she will stand near him for the rest of their lives. Too bad all these hopes were in vain. Lucia is hit by a terrible and dangerous disease while Casanova it away. Luckily she survives, but she is different afterwards. So different she fears to face her great love and runs away without letting him know why.
Many years later Lucia meets an interesting man. She now lives in Amsterdam and has made her live work even though it wasn't easy at all. This interesting man reminds her of her only and first love, Casanova... Could it be him?
Oooh, I'd love to read some more books by Arthur Japin and I hope they will be as good as this one. I obviously recommend this book to anyone!