A review of Juan Manuel de Prada's The Tempest
Mr. de Prada was born in Baracaldo in 1970. "The Tempest," published in Spain in 1997, won him the Planeta Prize, and earlier this year a later book, "La Vida Invisible," was awarded the Primavera Prize. His prose, for the American, and particularly older American, reader is a new experience, switching between a range of gears from the intellectual to erotic, to the downright repellent in its earthiness - but eventually magnetizing.
The novel's tension swings between the appeal of Venice with its great art and the anxieties and apprehensions aroused in the newcomer, who quickly becomes enmeshed in a tangled web focusing on the Giorgione he has come to see. (A frontispiece helps the reader to visualize it.) The threads of this web include a love story, a murder mystery, betrayal, the politics of art masterworks acquisition, and details of their restoration and forgery, the techniques of which often are the same.
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