Saturday, June 8, 2013
Deft and daft. This book explores both realms, vigorously. It's a well-done drawing, nicely stitched, and a drunken broth. If you'll read it with such an mind, I think you'll see what I mean and like it very much.
As artists, this book's writer, Ania Szado, its protagonist, Ms. LaChapelle, and its romantic interest, Antoine, all excel in several respects. They are quick-witted and skillful in their realms; there is no question about that. However, they are also mad. They are crazy about achieving recognition and becoming or remaining 'established' as artistes. In essence, the book is about the intersection of art --- the human effort to imitate and supplement, or to alter or counteract, the work of the natural --- and of commerce --- the buying and selling of goods, including, but not exclusively, of sexual intercourse.
Who would argue with the characterization of STUDIO SAINT-EX as a romance? Not me. After all, it's about the twenty-two-year-old aspiring fashion designer, totally fictional, Mignonne LaChapelle, who ends up 'romantically involved' with the 40+ year-old well-recognized author and wartime pilot, Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, who, although also fictional in the story, has a root in reality. Antoine, of course, is already married. But he is also conveniently estranged from the other key figure here, Consuelo, a Salvadoran knockout, who needs him.
So we have our typical love triangle set mostly in New York during World War II. On the other hand, there are other love interests involved: fame, honor, wealth, and independence.
How did I come to read this novel? Well, for one thing, it was a Vine offering, so I got it for free to review. But, beyond that, I was interested because of Antoine's work, THE LITTLE PRINCE, which I had received as a gift as a young man and read and enjoyed. Many have read and enjoyed THE LITTLE PRINCE by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry --- Wikipedia lists it in its list of best-selling books as number three, having sold approximately a 140 million copies. This book, I predict, won't go anywhere near there. But it will tag along with high hopes, a commercial venture attached to some promise of artistry to come from Szado.