Wow this book is underrated. I found it in a corner of a used bookstore and just couldn't pass it up because of the cover of it. It's so unique and colorful and just so pretty.
“His small compliments and offhand remarks formed a new scripture, and in breathless conversations and lonely, dream-drunk nights they built whole theologies from them.”
I'm happy I dived right into this book without looking it up on Goodreads first (because sometimes that can definitely spoil the fun). I was surprised to see such low average rating (3.47), and I am happy to be in minority of people who truly loved this book. Minority is usual where I like to be when books are concerned.
I'm not a fan of magical realism at all, and I am not sure this book was magical realism, but it definitely had aspects of it. So, in conclusion, I have no idea what I just read, but I know that I really, really enjoyed it.
“I am going blind,” she had blurted to her mother, in the welcome dimness of the family coach, her eyes still bright with tears from the searing winter sun. By this time, her peripheral vision was already gone. Carolina could feel her mother take her hand, but she had to turn to see her face. When she did, her mother kissed her, her own eyes full of pity. I have been in love, too,” she said, and looked away.”
Besides not liking magical realism I also am not a fan of affair stories (usually that is). But somehow all of the stars have aligned and this story just spoke to me and I ended up loving every part of it. I do wish the ending was more concrete though, but honestly that is the only complaint.
I am going to say that this book is not for everyone (as evident by the low ratings), but when the correct person finds it - the sparks fly. The only time I remember feeling this elevated about a book was when I read The Night Circus and The Girl who Drank the Moon - all of these books are so very different, but all of them make the reader FEEL the book. Somehow these books engage all of the sense and you can smell, touch and experience the book almost in dimensional perception. Magic? I think so.
Now I know I sound like I'm gushing, but don't get me wrong - the book isn't perfect. It's far from it, but somehow in that imperfection it's ... perfect. The Blind contessa's New Machine made me want to appreciate every little detail. It made me touch the bark of trees, to feel the carpet with my toes, to sit with my eyes closed and juts breathe. And those little experiences to me are priceless. I spend my life hunting for books that make me feel like this.
The writing style was also one of my favorite things in this book - it wasn't wordy at all. It's more about what the book wasn't saying than what it was actually saying. It's about the things that lurk in the dark, the things about which we prefer not to talk, the things we do when the night comes and we don't think anybody would find out. But despite of that shortness, all of the descriptions were absolutely luscious and mesmerizingly real.