Saturday, December 24, 2011

On Naked People

Not so recently, I finished reading Ellis Avery's forthcoming novel The Last Nude. The cover, not so surprisingly, has a nude on it:

I have no clothes on.
That's what a nude is.

The Last Nude tells the story of two women, the artist Tamara de Lampicka and her model and lover Rafaela Fano.

The majority of the novel is told from Rafaela's point of view during the period in which she met Tamara, modeled for her, and their relationship came to an abrupt halt. This portion of the novel is interesting, and really portrays a naive young woman growing up in an exotic, new place, and falling in love for the first time.

Some of the writing in this section was fabulous, most of it was merely okay, some of it was downright boring. Rafaela is in many ways naive, yet often the writer manages to make her seem stupid, and I don't necessarily think this is on purpose.

Overall, the story sort of has a detached feeling - or perhaps this is simply the impression I received as an uninvested reader, I'm not entirely sure. I did receive a favorable impression of the story, but as longtime readers are aware, I'm more of a character gal, personally, and so did not become invested in this novel in a manner that will lead me to rave about it.

The latter, far shorter portion of the novel deals with the fact that the area in which Rafaela was living was dangerous during the second World War. And Rafaela is a Jew. Many of the characters peopling this novel, in fact, are Jewish.

This latter portion is what makes me feel that Avery was trying to achieve a very personable novel, with characters that the reader will become emotionally invested in, and failed.

It's an okay read. As I mentioned earlier, this novel is not one that I will rave about. I feel more lukewarm towards it - which is, perhaps, more damning praise than any censure.

Recommended for beach reads or display books due to the interesting cover.

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