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The Blue Flower

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Format: Paperback

Condition: Very Good

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Book Overview

This description may be from another edition of this product. "An astonishing book . . . Fitzgerald's greatest triumph." -- New York Times Book Review The Blue Flower is set in the age of Goethe, in the small towns and great universities of late...

Customer Reviews

5 ratings

A book of longing

This book is amazing. Fitzgerald built this entire book on actual historical documents. Every chapter relates to a letter, journal entry or some other historical document/artifact. She does everything possible to bring you into the world of Novalis, before he was Novalis. Her use of the German language inside of English was masterful. If you want to know how some of the German translates is the best free tool out there. Some times the effect of it being pieced together is felt. You find yourself wanting more, and the scene switches. This itself is part of here pure genius. The entire book is about longing. What better tribute could be made to Novalis, perhaps the greatest poet of the German Romantic. The Blue Flower, the ultimate symbol of longing.

Beautiful. A miracle of compression.

It is astounding that a novel barely longer than two-hundred pages can create this many characters one cares deeply about, even more astonishing considering how distant a bunch of late 18th century Germans would seem in the hands of any lesser novelist. I've never read a book this short that had the same emotional impact - and was so unsentimental. The last page, essentially just a list, is one of the most powerful sections of prose I've ever read, simply because it contains the weight of all the perfectly written pages, and complete human beings, that went before it. A beautiful, sad, funny, moving book.

She doesn?t hand this one to you

"I have remained true to my deepest convictions, I mean to the courage of those who are born to be defeated, the weaknesses of the strong, and the tragedy of misunderstandings and missed opportunities, which I have done my best to treat as comedy, for otherwise how can we manage to bear it?"The quote above appeared in a story about Penelope Fitzgerald written just after her death. The quote and the ideas it states appear to be very appropriate to "The Blue Flower". I have read two other works of hers "The Bookshop" and "The Golden Child". All three books share her wonderful style of writing, which she can modify to produce three very different books, all the while maintaining the quality of her writing, while demonstrating incredible range.Of the three I have read this work is the one she makes you work the hardest for. The two previous books laid out their stories in comfortable, familiar settings, both in place and time. The books were constructed so the reader was able to follow a distinct story line. In the case of "The Blue Flower" the story, and her method of telling it leaves the reader to fill in the details necessary to make the story flow in a more conventional manner, to read more easily, more comfortably. For those who want all the details, all the motivation of the characters detailed and laid out with a beginning, middle, and end, this work may not rate as one of their favorite works.This book was comparatively lengthy set side by side with the other books I have mentioned. The briefer works are very straightforward, and I commented when I wrote about "The Bookshop" that I was curious with what she would do with the added length. True to having been not only a brilliant and highly original Authoress, as the length of her work expanded, it became more complex, less apparent, but yet another phenomenal read.

history not historical fiction

one of my favorite books and the reason, i think, is simple. this book is not about plot, is not a character study, and is not a morality play, really. i don't think its purpose is any one of these; it's purpose is something else altogether, a pleasure of an entirely different sort. re-read the first few pages and something occurs to you--there's something very odd here, something off- kilter about the syntax of the sentences, about the flow of the ideas. you either love the book or hate it after the first few pages. for those of us who loved it, we could see, hear really, the seventeenth-century german talking; the clunky, awkward, verbose beauty of it all. what is extraordinary about this book is that penelope fitzgerald, in a feat of sustained imagination i boggle at, has written a book as it would have been written and imagined some four centuries ago. it's like discovering a book written by novalis, not just about him.

This is a souffle, not Hamburger Helper.

The reviewer who wrote you either love this book or hate it is right. Those who hate it seem to do so because it did not live up to their preconceived notions of what "a great book" should be. Obvious plot development, blatant character growth, a quick rundown of history ... if those are the only reasons you read, definitely don't get this book. I thought it was a light, wonderful collection of vignettes that brought the world of late 18th century Germany to life. *But* I wasn't reading to see how Sophie would develop into a girl worthy of a great poet's love. At the risk of sounding like a snobby "real" reviewer, let me recommend the kind of readers who will like this book: (in the words of the late Iris Murdoch, another British novelist) "someone who likes a jolly good yarn and enjoys thinking about the book as well, about the moral issues." The key is putting in a little mental effort of your own.
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