Thursday, 14 March 2013

Book Review: Gastien (Part 1: The Cost of the Dream)

My Review of Gastien (Part 1: The Cost of the Dream) by Caddy Rowland:


Gastien (Part 1: The Cost of the Dream) by Caddy Rowland is an interesting novel, a blend of history, sex and artistic dreams. It is an illustrative glimpse into a past world decorated with steamy sex and colour.

Set in 19th century France, book tells the beginning of Gastien’s story, a French peasant who wants to be an artist. It details his abusive childhood, his escape to Paris, new friendships and sexual relationships, and the suffering he endures to fulfill his aspirations.

The novel’s strength is in its main character, a well-written and relatable persona. You do feel for his trials and get a good sense of his personality when reading, as well as engage with his life. Plus, the author did an excellent job with the details of an artist’s existence in the time period and the details of painting and technique; I found them realistic. There are some nice historic particulars, too, and the sex scenes are vividly portrayed.

However, the novel does have its problems. I found the prose did get repetitive at times, the plot to be stretched a bit thin, and the story lagged in the middle of the book. Some of the characterization (other than Gastien) is a bit one-dimensional, especially with secondary characters and I found much of the dialogue peppered with too many modern phrases such as “okay” and “gig”. These words detracted from the historic feel of the book for me and I felt the characters’ speech was at odds with the setting. The author also had the occasional tendency for explanative narrative regarding Gastien’s state of mind which I found unnecessary and distracting.

Overall though, I did enjoy the book, so I give it a mild recommendation, though readers should be warned this novel is quite explicit in the portrayal of sex and abuse.


Gastien (Part 1: The Cost of the Dream) is available at Amazon

 

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