The Girl with No Shadow: A Novel by Joanne Harris
rating: 5 of 5 stars
This is definitely one of my "best books." It's a sequel to Chocolat, picking up the story of Vianne Rocher. She's in Paris now, in a new identity, and she has abandoned her magic, and instead has concentrated on "fitting in." Into her carefully constructed life, comes Zozie de L'Alba who turns everything on its head with her hurricane life. Joanne Harris tells the story from 3 viewpoints - Vianne, Zozie, and Anouk, and weaves an intricate tale. Identity and seduction are the main themes. What are the costs of living as your true self? The costs of living a lie? What is worth having? What is true safety? There are several threads woven into this story: mother/daughter conflict; adolescent rebellion; a love triangle; identity theft. Joanne Harris descriptions of the Montmartre neighborhood bring it to life, and I could smell and taste every confectionery, as well as see the cobblestoned streets, and Zozie's bright red seductive shoes. I didn't "read" this book however, I listened to the Harper Audio version. I honestly think that I experienced this book more deeply listening to it than if I had read it. Listening forced me to slow down . . . I couldn't set the pace myself. Sometimes I think I miss subtle nuances when I read because I read so quickly. I know that I have a very well-constructed and fleshed-out visualization of the setting, and if I could draw, I could create a vivid picture of the chocolaterie and the Montmarte neighborhood. This is making me think about how I teach reading in my classroom. I've always done a lot of read aloud, and knew it had value beyond sharing a story.
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