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Flowers of Darkness: A Novel von Tatiana de…
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Flowers of Darkness: A Novel (2021. Auflage)

von Tatiana de Rosnay (Autor)

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257720,532 (3.33)1
Mitglied:brangwinn
Titel:Flowers of Darkness: A Novel
Autoren:Tatiana de Rosnay (Autor)
Info:St. Martin's Press (2021), 256 pages
Sammlungen:Gelesen, aber nicht im Besitz
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Flowers of Darkness von Tatiana De Rosnay

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Clarissa left her husband and moved into a secret housing complex where you had to be interviewed before you could live there.

You had to be an artist or writer or any type of creative person.

Are they really looking for talented folks or looking for someone who won’t suspect the reason for the security and scrutiny of your life as you live there?

Clarissa definitely felt as though someone was watching her besides her virtual personal assistant. Her cat seemed to feel the same way.

Something was going on in this extremely secured building with cameras in every room. It is a futuristic building where your every move was watched.

I don’t know why Clarissa didn’t move out of the building.

The writing is excellent as always, but FLOWERS OF DARKNESS was a slow read for me even though it wasn’t very long and had a bit of a mystery.

The futuristic things which were the major gist of the book are not something I read so this book wasn't as enjoyable as I would have liked. 3/5

This book was given to me by the publisher in exchange for an honest review. ( )
  SilversReviews | Feb 24, 2021 |
Set in the future with climate change causing uncomfortably warm temperatures and technology taking over, de Rosnay looks at what happens if technology is used for evil rather than good. Filled with long paragraphs and the slow disclosure of Clarissa’ past, I found the book hard going. Dark, futurist books aren’t my favorite to begin with. If you are looking for Tatiana de Rosnay’s historical novel, you be disappointed here. ( )
  brangwinn | Feb 23, 2021 |
I panned Tatiana de Rosnay’s 2018 novel The Rain Watcher but thought I’d give the author another chance so I requested a digital galley of her latest, Flowers of Darkness. I’m afraid this one is not an improvement.

The novel is set in Paris in the near future after the destruction of the Eiffel Tower, “the devastation of the Piazza San Marco, bombed-out Big Ben, and the obliteration of the Sistine Chapel.” Clarissa Katsef, a novelist who writes in both English and French, moves into an ultra-modern, high-tech apartment in a complex owned by C.A.S.A. (Center for Adaptive Synergy for Artists). She is looking for a refuge after a betrayal by her second husband, but she becomes uncomfortable when she feels herself being constantly watched by “the tiny cameras in each room, like little black eyes, always following her around.” She sets out to find out why her privacy is being invaded and enlists the help of her granddaughter Andy to help her.

This book is a commentary on climate change. For example, there is more than one comment about the plight of the planet. Abby laments, “’Look at what’s happening to the planet. Look what we did to it. Look what’s left of the forests. . . . Heat waves, floods, hurricanes, pollution.” Clarissa ponders “The perpetual heat waves, scorching summers, scarcity of water, brutal storms, end of natural pollination, and slow extinction of insects.”

Artificial intelligence is another target. The roles of robots in health care and security are mentioned, but they also take care of most human needs, even pleasure. Clarissa foresees a time when “’we could be forced to appreciate a fake culture entirely conceived and controlled by machines. We will no longer have any choice at all. For a long time, we’ve been getting those notifications telling us, “You liked so-and so’s book, so then read thingy’s one.” But what’s ahead could be even worse. Art, in each and every form, could be anticipated, made to order. Humans will stop creating, stop imagining. The end of surprises, make-believe, the end of possibilities, of the unexpected. On every front, it’ll be the victory of robots.’”

Another complaint Clarissa has is that people do not read books. In one paragraph, this is mentioned three times: “Hardly anyone read books anymore . . . it seemed no one yearned for books anymore. No one bought them . . . it appeared no one had the time to read or write anymore.” Later, she goes on and on about how “Pictures took precedence over words. No one read newspapers. People watched videos . . . Literature no longer held its own . . . People preferred to come and listen to the writer, to applaud the writer as he or she read from his or her book, and no longer purchased signed copies. Reading was no longer comforting. Reading no longer helped to heal.” She worries about piracy, which is understandable, but she just seems to object to people reading books on devices. Reading an ebook doesn’t qualify as reading? So I didn’t really read this book?!

The author, who has written books in both French and English, seems obsessed with people who have “hybrid brains” which she defines as people “who live and who dream in two different tongues.” Clarissa is simultaneously writing two versions of a book, one in English and one in French. The author seems to suggest that people who are bilingual are more creative. But what does bilingualism have to do with creativity in non-verbal arts? The creativity of bilingual sculptors and painters and musicians would be of more interest than that of monolingual sculptors, painters and musicians?

It is difficult to connect with Clarissa. She is in her late sixties, but she acts so immaturely. She needs to wear “high-heeled rock-star boots” which she admits are inappropriate for her age so she can feel “badass”? Over and over again, it is mentioned that she is particularly interested in the relationship between writers and their living environments, yet she doesn’t check out her new apartment before moving in. After she moves in “she suddenly realized she had moved into a dwelling she had never seen beforehand”?! She “blindly” signs a contract and even allows C.A.S.A. to monitor her health and only after moving in does she look up “the meaning of C.A.S.A.”? She starts to feel tired and thinks she should “slow down, write less and with less passion” yet she is never shown writing? Her most successful novel is improbably titled Topography of Intimacy?!

Other characters are unconvincing as well. Fourteen-year-old Andy seems too mature for her age, giving advice to her grandmother. Meanwhile, her forty-four-year old mother Jordan seems immature. For instance, Jordan is jealous of her cousins who received an inheritance from their aunt?! Clarissa’s father calls two of his granddaughters “sluts” and “tarts” and “twits”?!

Writing style is a major problem. It is stiff and flat, like something that could have been written by a robot. I kept thinking it had been poorly translated into English. There is so much awkward phrasing: “single tawdry cotillion” and “bloody pearls on a steadfast necklace of violence” and “sturdy, slightly stubby-legged outline” and “prodigious calm” and “lacustrine ballet” and “infinitesimal dark zone behind Mia White’s luminous smile” and “the choppy outcome of Aunt Serena’s will” and “imperious sensation.” A wedding band is a “jewel”? A person who is understanding is “marvelously comprehensive”? A person who remains expressionless is described as not losing “countenance”? The author seems to want to impress with her vocabulary but she uses words incorrectly.

It is not only the diction that is an issue. Short, choppy sentences abound. Then there are the long series of interrogative sentences: “Had he gone crazy? After everything he’d done? Did he really think she was going to shut up and stick around? Act like nothing had happened?” Exclamatory sentences are also overused: “Seriously, she looked like a lunatic! A madwoman!” Transitions are often missing so paragraphs are disjointed: “Jordan had lost many friends in the attack. Clarissa said good-bye to her daughter, and then asked Andy to go dry her hair. The president’s face appeared on the screen.” Why is Mia White always spoken of as Mia White? Her surname has to be given even though there is no other Mia in the narrative?

There are events that make no sense or are left unexplained. Why are we only told Clarissa’s pseudonym and not her real name? What happened to Jim? Why does Clarissa rush to London because of concerns about her father only to return home immediately? What is the purpose of the squabble over inheritance? Who is responsible for the destruction of European landmarks? Andy can roam around the C.A.S.A. complex, where surveillance is everywhere, and not be observed? It is possible to bargain with a robot? A cat joins a woman taking a shower and “installed himself on her thighs”? What are “Brexit’s unsettling consequences, steeped in complication”? To re-create “vanished beaches swallowed up by the rising sea level,” people are trying “to find sand, which had become so rare”?

Reading this book was laborious. Neither the plot nor the characters nor the style is noteworthy in a positive way.

Note: I received an eARC from the publisher via NetGalley.

Please check out my reader's blog (https://schatjesshelves.blogspot.com/) and follow me on Twitter (@DCYakabuski). ( )
  Schatje | Feb 22, 2021 |
Flowers of Darkness seems to be two stories rolled into one, with both centering around grief and devastating life changes.

Clarissa, a writer and grandmother, has left her second husband rather abruptly and goes in search of a safe haven in which to live and do her writing. One of Clarissa’s fascinations is places and their influence on people, so when she discovers CASA, a new apartment building exclusively for creative types, such as writers, artists and the like, she feels as if she may have found the perfect place.

Against her better judgment, she rushes to sign up and ignores some red flags along the way. The apartment furnishes her with vitamins and does a weekly health scan. They also film the residents. It’s a bit futuristic, but this is set in the future after Paris was hit with some drone strikes. After a few weeks of this, Clarissa is feeling creeped out about the place. That feeling is exacerbated when one of her new resident friends suddenly disappears.

While all this is going on, readers are let into the personal background of Clarissa, which centers on the loss of a child and her recent marital separation. The loss of the child was a situation that we’ve know through the ages, but the details centering around her recent separation was definitely one that belongs to the futuristic world.

I really liked the story, but would have liked to have seen some things resolved prior to the ending. I also felt as if the apartment community atmosphere would have made a great story on it’s own.

Many thanks to NetGalley and St. Martin’s Press for allowing me to read an advance copy. I’m happy to give my honest review. ( )
  tamidale | Feb 12, 2021 |
Set in a future Paris where terrorists have bombed the Eiffel Tower, this novel's focus is Clarissa, an author undergoing seismic changes in her life. After leaving her second husband for reasons that are gradually revealed by her journal entries interspersed throughout, Clarissa is pleased to be accepted for a condo in a building exclusively inhabited by artists. As she spends more time in her lovely new apartment, Clarissa becomes suspicious of her automated personal assistant and the cameras recording all of her movements and conversations. When she becomes increasingly creeped out and depressed, her sanity is questioned by her daughter and father, and suspense builds around the ultimate outcome for Clarissa. The strength of this novel is in the relationships described, as well as the future possibilities of artificial intelligence and climate change. However, readers looking for a tidy resolution may be disappointed. ( )
  sleahey | Oct 6, 2020 |
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