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A vontade de saber como a predição da vidente vai se desenrolar, faz com que seja quase impossível largar o livro. Ele é bem curtinho, rápido de terminar. A leitura é bem fluída e o inglês é bem simples, acredito que seria uma boa leitura para quem precisa treinar o idioma.
Excellent yarn taking you from Brighton to Istanbul, with an intriguing twist. It immersses you into the world of creating perfumes and the history of Turkey's bloody past. The only thing that put me off as a true Brit is that it has been translated by an American so uses phrases, spellings and American slang which, as set in 1950s UK, becomes annoying. But hey, the author is French, so easier than reading it in French.
I got this book free on a promotion, and found it intriguing enough to read straight away. There were many things I loved about this book - the depth of the characters, the evocative nature of concentrating on the sense of smell and the detail of the locations - but ultimately it fell short of five stars.
The book tells the story of Alice Pendlebury, who thinks she knows everything about her life, and the way that life is changed after a chance encounter with a fortune teller on a day trip to Brighton from London where she lives. Her “strange journey” takes her across Europe to Istanbul and leads to encounters with a series of men as she searches for the destiny that the old woman promised.
As far as I can tell the book has been translated into English from the original French, and along with that translation came a change of title. The original was a story about Mr Daldry, who accompanies Alice on part of her travels, and the change of emphasis makes this a somewhat different tale.
At its heart, this book is a romance, but it does not really follow the standard romance template. Our main character (in the English version at least), Alice, is searching for love, certainly, but as the story progresses that search becomes overshadowed by searching for her own, increasingly mysterious, past. Along the way she meets several men (and also several women, but these were somehow ignored in the prediction of her future) who help her along the way
For me, this story worked best when it was describing the environment and the interaction between the characters. Everywhere the story touches on, from rainy, workaday, London, to stuffy Vienna, to the geographical and historical complexity of Istanbul, pops out from the page, and even the minor characters have a presence that makes them much more than signposts along the way.
Sadly, it worked less well when it dropped into a series of letters between Alice and some of the other characters. Although this gave a chance to see, in a kind of self-censored way, the way her thoughts and views changed during the story, the letters lacked the impact and vividness of the normal prose. I also found a few linguistic issues in which the thoroughly British main character slipped into American terminology. In today’s increasingly globalised world this might be accepted, but the book is set in 1951 when such things would be inexcusable. In mid-twentieth-century British English “Odour” has a “u”, people never talk about “blocks” as a unit of urban distance, and what Americans call a “gurney” would be just a “trolley”
Despite all that, the story captivated me enough that I rushed through the book, and even though the “surprise” ending had become pretty obvious as it progressed, I still very much enjoyed the ride.
I love perfumes and the stories behind them so found the section where Alice and Daldry were exploring Istanbul really fascinating. Having visited Istanbul I could picture many of the places described and almost smell the aromas as well.
I found the style of writing quite lyrical at times. The story started off in London and you could feel the dampness and typical way of life for the group of youngsters there. The fortune teller part was intriguing. I am not a huge believer but have had an interesting reading years ago and many of the predictions have slotted into place since so I am open to the idea of some people seeing things beyond the way normal people do.
I liked the detective element of the story where Alice discovers who she is but the letters between Alice and Daldry I found a less interesting way of telling the story.
The end became predictable during the letter writing section even though at the time Alice was still finding her history, somehow I preferred the style of writing in the initial part of the book.
Having said all that did enjoy the story and would happily read more from this author.
A journey of discovery for Alice, and some very unlikely companions. Although the language was a bit more formal than I usually read, personally I think it fits the time period (although I've read many reviews condemning the "American" translator) if you've spoken to anyone of this generation this is actually what they sound like! Not sure about the ending, it was wrapped up too nicely in some ways but lots of loose ends regarding her friends including Anton. Overall worth a read, if you've ever visited Istanbul they is a lot of good description that makes nostalgic.
Also well translated. I haven’t compared the original French text to the translation but the English reads as if the book had been written in English from the beginning. There were a couple of times I thought the story was predictable and it was with a little twist. I’m not sure the ending was 100% convincing and it seemed a little rushed. Otherwise an enjoyable read.
The novel has a gentle pace and layers of both the past and present are slowly revealed to the reader. The characters are wonderfully drawn and I was sorry to say goodbye at the end of the story to Can, the best guide in Istanbul. There are a few moments were you must go with the somewhat contrived plot devices but a really enjoyable story non the less.
I love all the smells! This story is very well written and lovely to read. It's not exactly exciting, an quite predictable. I would have liked to have fallen in love with the characters a little more. However it's a nice beach/holiday or rainy afternoon read.
Not my usual read, this story is more for the female of the species, that said I am a sucker for a happy ending. The reason for this rating, is that the story is supposed to be that of an English girl, yet, the spelling was American.