Friday, July 28, 2006

Lost Hearts in Italy by Andrea Lee

This book was a little frustrating. I loved some of the short stories in Lee's INTERESTING WOMEN and I was so looking forward to reading this book. There have been so many books about Americans in Italy but I don't know of any from a black female POV (if anyone does please let me know).

I don't mind some of the sloppy errors critics have pointed out. My problem was I just couldn't get a read on Mira, the protagonist. Maybe this was intentional?

Anyway the book examines the breakup of Mira and Nick. A young, golden couple who met at Harvard. It cuts between the present and to when Nick and Mira first moved to Rome in the 80's. Nick is a up and coming banker from a WASPy New England family and Mira is from a very prominent black family in Philly. At the wedding the author points out how Nick's family notices no one in Mira's family is dark skinned, heavy or wearing loud clothes. Uhm okay. Mira is a writer and beautiful. Most of the time Italians are not sure if she's spanish, cuban etc. She meets a very rich older Italian, Zenin and begins an affair that wrecks her marriage. Mira and her daughter stay on in Italy. Mira and Nick remarry. Nick now living in London and Mira in Turin.

I'm not sure why we are supposed to care about Mira. Why did she start the affair? She didn't seem to have any real feelings or passion for Zenin. Re: her P.O.V. Mira seemed somewhat disconnected from anything having to do with black american culture. I say this as someone who listened to get the "Get the Led out" on New Jersey's classic rock station and loved Duran Duran along with my P.E. and Erik B.

This book did make me more curious about the author. Like Mira, she has a daughter who is a student at Harvard, is from a prominent family in Philly, is married to a wealthy titled Italian and lives in Turin with her two younger children. I want to check out her other novels. I wish I was in a book club so I could talk about LOST HEARTS some more.

I am loving HEAT by Bill Buford. I cannot put it down.


Ms Adventures in Italy said...

I read something about this book and also thought that a lot of the conflict would be missing in the book....glad to hear someone read it! Maybe I'll pick it up now.

nyc/caribbean ragazza said...

sara, if you read it let me know what you think. I just ordered her first novel from Amazon.