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Banishing Verona: A Novel (original 2004; edition 2004)
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0312425201, Paperback)Margot Livesey's Banishing Verona is the story of two people who enjoy an enchanted evening together, and then spend the next few weeks chasing each other across continents in order to decide if it's the real thing. Zeke Cafarelli is an endearingly timid, rather obsessive-compulsive housepainter who dismantles clocks, "laying out the springs and coils in careful sequence and putting them back together," in order to gain the courage to leave his house. Verona MacIntyre is a seven-months-pregnant radio talk show host who goes back and forth between wanting to rescue her wayward brother and simply wanting to rescue herself. The backdrop for this ethereal novel is London and Boston, and Livesey does a masterful job of creating characters out of the cities and places that house her protagonists.
Banishing Verona is a love story at its core; however, Zeke and Verona are seen together in only a few scenes. Instead, Livesey tells the story from each character's perspective, overlapping time and place yet creating entirely unique situations. Each event is described with such precision that even the most mundane tasks take on a sense of importance that feels almost palpable. ("Then he noticed the red light on the phone, blinking ... He raised the receiver and heard only the usual high-pitched note; he had no idea what to do next.")
While her attention to detail may seem a bit excessive at times, Livesey is undeniably adept at creating a vivid, colorful world whose only purpose is to exist as a backdrop for Zeke and Verona's search for self, and for each other. Even secondary characters, like Zeke's employee Emmanuel and Verona's brother Henry, are only there to accentuate the good (and the bad) in our hero and heroine. Still, the underlying message here is that no one ever really knows anyone else, or as Zeke says, "Only years later ... did he grasp that even at their most vivid ... his thoughts were invisible, not only to teachers and tyrants, but to everyone..." What keeps us reading this dreamy novel until the very last page is the hope that people exist who are willing to take a chance on what can never truly be a sure thing. --Gisele Toueg
(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:46:50 -0400)
"Zeke is twenty-nine, a man who looks like a Raphael angel and who earns his living as a painter and carpenter in London. He reads the world a little differently from most people and has trouble with such ordinary activities as lying, deciphering expressions, recognizing friends and relatives. Verona is thirty-seven, confident, hot-tempered, a modestly successful radio-show host, unmarried, and seven months pregnant. When the two meet in a house that Zeke is renovating, they fall in love, only to be separated less than twenty-four hours later when Verona mysteriously disappears." "Both Zeke and Verona, it turns out, have complications in their lives, though not of a romantic kind. Verona's involve her brother, Henry, who is embroiled in shady financial dealings. Zeke's father has had a heart attack, and his mother is threatening to run away with her lover. And yet, knowing as little about her as he does, Zeke is consumed only with finding Verona. But how does one find a missing person in a city the size of London? Go door to door, put up posters on lampposts, wait outside maternity wards? As Zeke pursues Verona, and she pursues Henry, both are forced to ask the perplexing question: Can we ever know another person?"--BOOK JACKET.
(summary from another edition)
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