Monday 26 October 2015

Ann Diamond's review

Review by Ann Diamond, 19 October 2015 on Goodreads, 4 stars out of five.

INSECTUAL The Secret of the Black Butterfly.

I've read INSECTUAL at various stages as I was involved in editing it beginning about ten years ago. I'm very glad to see it finally appear in print. It has all the qualities other reviewers have mentioned: strong, vivid writing; a fast-moving story that begins in Nazi Germany during the war years, moves to the Belgian Congo in the early sixties and another particularly bloody war, then comes to rest in Montreal where the narrator enters therapy with a brilliant psychotherapist who helps her retrieve childhood incest memories and unfreeze her considerable artistic talent. (Writing is just one of Barbara Sala's gift - she's also a well-respected "naive" painter.)

I haven't read the current version of INSECTUAL -- a brilliant title that I believe her granddaughter contributed to the project. I'm a fan of Barbara's writing (and painting) but we came to loggerheads when she revised the book, back in about 2010. I was in love with the earlier version - a masterpiece of dramatic irony with a darker subtext than the current one - in fact I thought it really had "bestseller" potential as a portrait of a woman caught in the throes of romantic obsession to the point of extreme-self-deception. If this version is disturbing, the earlier one was at times terrifying in its exploration of a shattered female psyche, almost (but not quite) rescued and redeemed by art.......

No comments:

Post a Comment