Guide Last Train from Liguria

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One of the most fortunate purposes of literature is to bring like-minded people together and get them talking. A Novel Bookstore was one of my two most recent and delightful discoveries in the English section of my local library.

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The sadly sparse shelves at first appear to reveal nothing of interest. Suddenly my eye is drawn to a title, The Last Train from Liguria is a second case in point. This coastal area from the Italian frontier beyond Menton in France is not only known but dearly loved by me.

I was delighted to confirm my impression that nothing had really changed of its landscape, architecture or quiet ambiance since the years between the wars. Although the fatal rise of fascism and Mussolini in marred its history for a while the town survives today much as it was then.

Last Train from Liguria by Christine Dwyer Hickey - Blog - Indian Prairie Public Library

Three main protagonists, two of them contemporaries, lead us through this beautifully written story of tragedy and love. I am convinced on the first page as Bella arrives in Bordighera for the first time. So completely opposite to her mundane life in Dublin.


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How these people embraced and savored all of life! Beauty is everything, seen in everything.

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Even a bride, not in herself beautiful, was Bella simply because she was a bride and all brides were beautiful. These words rang so true in my personal experience of Italy and the Italians I had observed and met while living and visiting there.

It is was why I am never happier than when I am there. I am not going to recount or review this book which traces back and forth between generations and only reveals its secret at the very end. I found it impossible to understand the reasons for her slovenly behavior, attitudes, mores and language.

Otherwise the book to me was without fault. It left unsaid the things that were beyond words. The wealth of literary encouragement for those of us who love to write would alone justify reading A Novel Bookstore.

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However, this startlingly original and surprising novel is rich with characters and wonderfully drawn portraits of French life with a wealth of often amusing insights by a French writer for those of us who, even after years living here, are sometimes baffled by our adopted countrymen. I am aware that it is not permitted to reproduce more than brief quotes due to copyright laws and therefore restrain myself to only one more below.


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I shall instead, keep and review my own notes from this book as I continue to struggle at this craft in the face of enormous odds against me in today publishing world. Somehow all the storylines were a little too much.

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We enter the story with the last storyline, which put me off a little as it was not at all what I expected. The main story itself did take sometime to get going. But it did mean that I felt like I was building a relationship with Bella, and although at times it did feel a little like it was dragging ultimately it made me care about her, enough that her story ended too abruptly for me. I loved the way atmosphere was built in this story.

The beauty of Italy contrasting with the increasingly tense atmosphere. It was like some sort of reverse pathetic fallacy is there actually a term for that? As a war story, Last Train From Liguria is different, maybe it is more realistic in its way. Bella seems very naive but maybe she was just in denial?


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