Tag Archives: Historical Fiction

Review: Visible Empire

Visible Empire

Visible Empire
By Hannah Pittard
Houghton Mifflin, 9780544748064, June 2018, 288pp.

The Short of It:

A plane crash leaves in its wake a host of people struggling to make sense of the tragedy.

The Rest of It:

Visible Empire is a novel based on true events. In 1962 an Air France flight carrying Atlanta’s elite, crashed shortly after takeoff and left an entire community struggling to process the loss of so many well-known people from the art world. The book opens with the crash itself. The reader is briefly introduced to some of the passengers before the plane plunges back to the runway only to become a horribly burned and twisted mass of steel.

And then, the story really starts.

Everyone left behind has a story of course. A man’s mistress was killed on the plane while his wife at home is about to deliver their first child. A young man, denied admission to an integrated school finds himself driving two white men, in the middle of the night when racial tension is so high. Others, just keep repeating the events of the day never really to come to any conclusion or peace as to what has happened to their community.

Visible Empire started off strong but then petered out about half way through. These characters did not interest me enough for me to want to know more about them, or to care what happened to them once the initial shock of the crash wore off. I think for me, the lack of empathy on my end greatly affected my overall impression of the book.

Have you read it? If so, what did you think of it?

Source: Review copy provided by the publisher.
Disclosure: This post contains Indiebound affiliate links.

Advertisements

Review: A Gentleman in Moscow

A Gentleman in Moscow

A Gentleman in Moscow
By Amor Towles
Viking, 9780670026197, September 2016, 480pp.

The Short of It:

Thoroughly charming.

The Rest of It:

I tend to shy away from historical fiction and because of that, when A Gentleman in Moscow first came out, I didn’t think much of it. However, after all this time, it’s still a bestseller and you really don’t see that with many books. So, when it came time for my book club to select our books for the year, I pitched it and I’m very glad I did.

It’s the year 1922 and Count Alexander Rostov pens a counter-revolutionary poem which lands him under house arrest at the Hotel Metropol, a grand, luxurious hotel. Because of his friends in high places, he escapes execution but finds himself imprisoned in a smallish room but for the most part, left to his own devices.

The book covers his 30+ years at the hotel and is filled with gorgeous descriptions of the decadent meals prepared and enjoyed, the people he encounters, all of which play a critical role to the story, This is escapism at its best and yet, it’s also about imprisonment as the Russian Revolution unfolds outside.

This book is delightful. Charming. Entertaining, Touching. It’s a feel-good story but is tinged with the very real-world politics of that time period. Towles does an amazing job of making every moment mean something. Nothing seems wasted. I turned that last page and that was it. I was in love.

It was announced back in February that Kenneth Branagh will play the Count in the upcoming mini-series. He is also producing the series so I expect it to be very good.

If you are one of the few who have not read it yet, you really must.

Source: Borrowed
Disclosure: This post contains Indiebound affiliate links.