Sonderbooks Book Reviews by Sondra Eklund

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*****= An all-time favorite
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***The Lady and the Unicorn

by Tracy Chevalier

Reviewed March 8, 2004.
Dutton, New York, 2004.  248 pages.
Available at Sembach Library (F CHE).

Thanks to my friend Shannon for recommending this author.  I’m going to try The Girl with the Pearl Earring soon (which she says is especially good).

The Lady and the Unicorn weaves a story of the famous medieval tapestries now hanging in the Cluny Museum in Paris.  The story is cleverly constructed, with each chapter being told by a different narrator, beginning with the painter who designed the pictures.

Unfortunately, that painter is portrayed as something of a sex addict and not very likeable.  I didn’t particularly enjoy sharing his thoughts.  This makes it all the better that the narrators change in later chapters. 

We’re taken from the design of the tapestries and the noble household for which they are destined to the household of the weavers in Belgium who produce the finished work.  There, at least, are some characters we come to care about.

This story, like the tapestry, is skillfully woven.  It’s rather a sad book.  The endings are satisfying, but not especially happy.  Even though I wasn’t crazy about the people I was reading about, especially at the beginning, the story did catch my interest and keep me reading on.  It made me want to go to Paris and see these tapestries for myself.

Copyright © 2005 Sondra Eklund.  All rights reserved.

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