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A friend recommended this magnificent story about the art geniuses of the Middle Ages. It is a imaginative story of inspiration, rivalry, dedication and uncertainty.
It parallels the divine discomfort that can accompany undertakings large and small.
10 of 10 people found this review helpful
I rarely read book reviews until after I have read the book and posted my own, but in this case I made an exception because the genre is so far outside of that which I usually read. What I found were some wonderful reviews written by some very enthusiastic and seemingly knowledgeable art lovers, so, as one who knows very little about art, my review will be from a very non-arty-type point of view.
I did find it a little hard to get immersed in the story, but once I changed my mindset from worrying about what is fact and what is fiction to one of simply listening to and enjoying the story for what it is, (fiction loosely based on fact) I really got into it and enjoyed it.
No art expertise required!
The main story is, of course, based on the rivalry between da Vinci and Michelangelo, both being attributed with artistic temperaments and each man being highly reactive to the achievements of the other. Each artist is featured in alternating chapters; their lives, families, loves and their careers, the highs and the lows.
Despite the rivalry and dislike between the two men, the older daVinci is shocked and distressed when he hears that Michelangelos' completed statue of David might have suffered damage at the hands of vandals. This revealed another side to his character; the side that believes that, above all else, art is everything.
I enjoyed the chapters about daVinci more so than those about Michelangelo, I'm not sure why, maybe because he was older and had more interesting things going on in his life; the account of his attempt to re-route the river in order to prevent flooding was fascinating to me. He seemed always to be working on various projects, improving the old and inventing the new.
Michelangelo seemed to have but one obsession, his "David", he also seemed to spend a great deal of time feeling hard done by and sorry for himself, but then, those characteristics may have been the result of the authors artistic licence.
I loved the accounts of how people lived in those times, the streets, the buildings, the food and drink, their clothing. I can't imagine how many hours that the author would have spent in researching this for her work, dedication indeed!
I would highly recommend this book to those who love historical fiction, but art lovers, especially those who are really knowledgable, do need to bear in mind that, despite the factual content, it is a work off fiction.
A narration of well over 13 hours and with many characters is no mean undertaking and I admire the narrator, P. J. Ochlan, for his consistency. Each character has an Italian accent and P.J. Ochlan succeeded in giving each one a distinct voice, I enjoyed them all, I thought he captured the complaining tone of Michelangelo perfectly.
I did find that listening to the Italian accents a bit wearing, but that really is just a personal preference, many audiobook listeners believe that accents add a nice touch of authenticity.
Audiobook provided by the author, narrator or publisher in return for an unbiased review
25 of 27 people found this review helpful
I am perhaps being a little unfair in only giving this one star, since I only got about four minutes in. I was fascinated by the blurb and synopsis, and the cover looks lovely (literally enacted a cliché right there - never judge a book by it's cover). I should have listened to the sample first.
This could be the best and most fascinating book in the world.
I will never know, because listening to the narrator was like chewing foil.
1 of 1 people found this review helpful
What disappointed you about Oil and Marble?
Everything. It had no redeeming features. After the first few chapters I really thought it was an attempt at comedy.
What could Stephanie Storey have done to make this a more enjoyable book for you?
I don't think that there is anything that could rescue this book
Who might you have cast as narrator instead of P. J. Ochlan?
The narrator was hopeless. But the subject matter is so poor that it might be harsh to heap too much blame on his shoulders.
If you could play editor, what scene or scenes would you have cut from Oil and Marble?
Please don't ask. If I was editor the project would never have got near publication.
Any additional comments?
I'm really disappointed that Audible would allow such rubbish to assail its members. I don't expect Shakespeare every time but come on !!This by a long way is the worst effort I've ever bought from Audible. I really regret that I did not read Jessica's review before wasting one credit.