Saturday, August 19, 2006

In the Company of the Courtesan


In The Company of the Courtesan, by Sarah Dunant

Adult/historical fiction

I just finished listening to an abridged version of this lovely book, read by a great British character actor, Tom Hollander. This is the story of a beautiful courtesan in Renaissance Italy, as told by her servant and friend, a dwarf named Bucino. Fiammetta Bianchini is one of the most successful courtesans in Rome, until she and Bucino lose everything, but manage to escape and flee the 1527 pillage of Rome. They make their way to Venice where they begin life again, and after one adventure and another, find that Fiammetta is again hugely popular and successful, even become the model Titian's "Venus of Urbino". I am no scholar of Renaissance history, but it seems to me that the author brings the worlds of Rome, and especially Venice, gloriously to life. The story is fast-paced, and I found myself very involved in the feelings and cares of the narrator, who was, in actuality, the courtesan's pimp. There are scenes that are not for the squemish, and it's not a book my grandmother would approve of my reading, but I really liked it. Definitely recommended.

1 comment:

Maggie said...

Oh, I *LOVE* Sarah Dunant!!!!! I'll be looking for that book!