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The Museum of Things Left Behind by Seni…
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The Museum of Things Left Behind

by Seni Glaister

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Lost in the midst of the Carpathian Mountains is the state of Vallerosa. Founded by a group of Cathars escaping persecution hundreds of years ago, Vallerosa is small and unknown with no international profile. Governed by a benevolent elected dictatorship in the form of the President Sergio and his team of officials who all inherit their positions, the people of Vallerosa live simple lives unaffected by the world. However a mistake in interpreting a letter means that well-meaning student Lizzie is mistaken for royalty and her trip to discover Vallerosa is treated as an official visit. What Lizzie finds in Vallerosa is country in need of guidance and not that of the circling corporate Americans.

This is an original premise and, after a slow start, engaging story. The idea of a country living without interference from abroad is unlikely but the cast of characters is interesting. What works well are the little set pieces including the museum of things left behind, a place to exhibit the detritus of other people's lives, and the competition between the bar owners. OK it is more of an allegory than a piece of serious literature but it is whimsical and completely beguiling. ( )
  pluckedhighbrow | Jun 26, 2017 |
Extremely surprised by the 1* review here, which I find inaccurate as well as unjust. I found this an utterly delightful read and would highly recommend it.

Somewhere on the border between Italy and Austria, in a deep gorge shielded from its neighbours’ eyes, lies the pretty little city-state of Vallerosa. Life in this sleepy country continues much as it has for decades: every evening the men gather at the two bars in the main square – the clientele of each dictated by long tradition; the women work hard out of sight; and Vallerosa’s chief glory remains the plantations where they grow their famous tea. And yet the President, Sergio Scorpioni, is troubled.

For the rest of the view, please see my blog:
https://theidlewoman.net/2016/09/10/the-museum-of-things-left-behind-seni-glaister/ ( )
  TheIdleWoman | Sep 10, 2016 |
This is a clumsy, clichéd mess of a book. It thinks it's satire, but it isn't clever enough for that. It's a thinly veiled piece of propaganda for Tory policies with a bargain basement Diana Princess of Wales as its heroine. Execrable. ( )
  missizicks | Jul 25, 2016 |
A quirky little book that is as enchanting as it's title.

Vallerosa is a tiny little country nestling in the mountains between France, Italy, Austria and Switzerland. Run by a paranoid and irresolute, more benevolent than despotic elected dictator, the country is looking to an American consultant to improve it's economic standing.

When Lizzie Holmesworth writes to the President of Vallerosa to ask for permission to visit for a month to work towards her Duke of Edinburgh Award, something is seriously lost in translation. When she arrives, the President and populace are actually expecting the Duke of Edinburgh, and to save face the President presents her as a member of the British Royal Family. This gives her unprecedented access and freedoms to meet both Government officials and the local inhabitants. The misunderstanding sets in motion a chain of events that will change Vallerosa and everyone who lives there.

Vallerosa's fragile economy is based on self sufficency and the production of their own particular brand of tea, a result of a previous historical blip. The American consultant wants all of the land given over to tea to improve exports (which are currently non existent) and at the same time there seems to be a consensus that Tourism will also improve their standing.

The book started a little slowly and the language at times was a bit clunky, almost like a bad translation. However the engaging story and the delightful characters soon meant that I was less critical as I just wanted to see how things played out. The book is a clever satirical look at the world and how Capitalism (here in the shape of the Americans) doesn't always offer the best way forward. It is a clear example of the dangers of putting all your eggs in one basket. It also strikes a blow for feminism as while all of the Government officers and local businesses owners are men, it is the women working behind the scenes that are actually the driving force that keeps the country going.

The question is who will secure the confidence of the indecisive President and his cabinet, to determine the future of Vallerosa.

In case your wondering the whimsical Museum of Things Left Behind, is literally that. The countries sole Museum aimed at giving 'lost items' their purpose back. This again is another allegorical construct as Vallerosa is full of people struggling to achieve their potential and have a real, rather than imposed purpose to their lives. Not forgetting that the tea plants that grow in the valley were the original things that were left behind.

A fun, quirky but also engaging and thought provoking read that has you thinking about the nature of societies and whether progress and Capitalist thinking is always the way forward.

I received an ARC via NetGalley in return for an honest review.



( )
  Jilldoyle | Mar 27, 2016 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0008118957, Hardcover)

Escape into this hugely enjoyable, big-hearted and beautifully written novel, set in Vallerosa, a European country you've never heard of before. FIND YOURSELF IN VALLEROSA, A PLACE LOST IN TIME Vallerosa is every tourist's dream - a tiny, picturesque country surrounded by lush valleys and verdant mountains; a place sheltered from modern life and the rampant march of capitalism. But in isolation, the locals have grown cranky, unfulfilled and disaffected. In the Presidential Palace hostile Americans, wise to the country's financial potential, are circling like sharks ...Can the town be fixed? Can the local bar owners be reconciled? Can an unlikely visitor be the agent of change and rejuvenation this broken idyll is crying out for? Full of wisdom, humour and light, THE MUSEUM OF THINGS LEFT BEHIND is a heart-warming fable for our times that asks us to consider what we have lost and what we have gained in modern life. A book about bureaucracy, religion and the people that really get things done, it is above all else a hymn to the inconstancy of time and the pivotal importance of a good cup of tea.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 06 Jul 2015 14:26:22 -0400)

Escape into this hugely enjoyable, big-hearted and beautifully written novel, set in Vallerosa, a European country you've never heard of before. Vallerosa is every tourist's dream - a tiny, picturesque country surrounded by lush valleys and verdant mountains; a place sheltered from modern life and the rampant march of capitalism. But in isolation, the locals have grown cranky, unfulfilled and disaffected. In the Presidential Palace hostile Americans, wise to the country's financial potential, are circling like sharks ... Can the town be fixed? Can the local bar owners be reconciled? Can an unlikely visitor be the agent of change and rejuvenation this broken idyll is crying out for? Full of wisdom, humour and light, the museum of things left behind is a heart-warming fable for our times that asks us to consider what we have lost and what we have gained in modern life. A book about bureaucracy, religion and the people that really get things done, it is above all else a hymn to the inconstancy of time and the pivotal importance of a good cup of tea.… (more)

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