Flashback Friday is a weekly tradition started here at Bookshelf Fantasies, focusing on showing some love for the older books in our lives and on our shelves. If you’d like to join in, just pick a book published at least five years ago, post your Flashback Friday pick on your blog, and let us all know about that special book from your reading past and why it matters to you. Don’t forget to link up!
This week on Flashback Friday:
Anne Rice brings to life the exquisite and otherworldly society of the eighteenth-century castrati, the delicate and alluring male sopranos whose graceful bodies and glorious voices brought them the adulation of the royal courts and grand opera houses of Europe, men who lived as idols, concealing their pain as they were adored as angels, yet shunned as half-men.
As we are drawn into their dark and luminous story, as the crowds of Venetians, Neopolitans, and Romans, noblemen and peasants, musicians, prelates, princes, saints, and intriguers swirl around them, Anne Rice brings us into the sweep of eighteenth-century Italian life, into the decadence beneath the shimmering surface of Venice, the wild frivolity of Naples, and the magnetic terror of its shadow, Vesuvius.
In the nine years between publication of Interview With the Vampire, the first of Anne Rice’s Vampire Chronicles novels, and the second, The Vampire Lestat, Anne Rice wrote a couple of stand-alone novels, which seem to be mostly forgotten today — but which are startlingly original and with quite unusual (to say the least) subject matter.
Cry to Heaven focuses on the young men, castrated before puberty, who rose to the highest levels of celebrity in the 18th century as opera singers. Admired for their pure voices and lusted after by all sorts, the lives of the castrati are explored here in a novel full of passion, pain, and drama.
For those who only associate Anne Rice with the supernatural, it may be a pleasant surprise to see her talents applied to historical fiction here in one of her earliest works. Cry to Heaven is quite unusual, but also quite unforgettable.
What flashback book is on your mind this week?
Note from your friendly Bookshelf Fantasies host: To join in the Flashback Friday fun:
- Grab the Flashback Friday button
- Post your own Flashback Friday entry on your blog (and mention Bookshelf Fantasies as the host of the meme, if you please!)
- Leave your link in the comments below
- Check out other FF posts… and discover some terrific hidden gems to add to your TBR piles!
Do you host a book blog meme? Do you participate in a meme that you really, really love? I’m building a Book Blog Meme Directory, and need your help! If you know of a great meme to include — or if you host one yourself — please drop me a note on my Contact page and I’ll be sure to add your info!