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In Lucia's Eyes by Arthur Japin
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In Lucia's Eyes (2003)

by Arthur Japin

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1,1102011,254 (3.78)30
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» See also 30 mentions

Dutch (14)  English (6)  All languages (20)
Showing 1-5 of 6 (next | show all)
Read all my reviews on http://urlphantomhive.booklikes.com

I didn't know there was an English translation of this book until I just came across it. The original title is Een Schitterend Gebrek. It was one of the books I read for Dutch literature, a while ago, and I remember there were a lot of people who liked it, but I didn't really.

In Lucia's Eyes tells the story of Casanova's first love, Lucia. She runs away from her fiancé after a disease leaves her face scarred. Years later she finds herself in Amsterdam.

Like I said, it didn't work for me. I thought the story was too slow and I didn't like Lucia, the main character. It is a shame, really, because when I see the author on television I always feel like I should read more of his books, but when I then think of this book I don't really want to any more. I think it just wasn't for me. ( )
  Floratina | May 26, 2016 |
Nicely balanced between being a very readable story, and still containing enough ideas to stimulate the hungry mind. The blurb, cover and title do not in my opinion do justice to its fascinating psychological/sociological aspect which for me, made the book. It explores how we see and process reality, not overtly, but rather through the protagonists's eyes herself, hence - perhaps - the title. It compresses the Enlightenment, and the philosophical battle for reason, into the mind of one woman. I wonder whether Japin is familiar with the Jongian cognitive functions (Thinking, intuition, feeling and sensing) because the book more or less covers them in sequence. We are taken on the journey inside her mind as she learns and comes to think in different ways throughout her life.

The characters were believable - as larger than life characters go - and the description were right on the mark. If your eyes are open, you can expect to learn something about love and thought, and undeniably you will be a wee bit surprised by how revealing some parts are. Japin can pull out a solid philosophical/idea-full sentence now and then.

No-spoiler quotes I marveled at
"If you keep your eyes on reality, you cannot become disillusioned"
"We rely too much on how we think we are seen than how we see ourselves"
"Tolerance is not the same as acceptance [...] you suggest in the same breath that they are actually an inconvenience"
"Contracts between two people would be a find idea if life were immutable. But it's constantly taking us by surprise. 'Improvise' it call out to us, 'Anticipate, vary!' Eternal faithfulness is a religion for fools" ( )
  jculkin | Feb 1, 2016 |
Begrijp me niet verkeerd, dit is best een goed boek. Maar ik heb er alleen niet bijzonder van genoten. Misschien ligt het aan de vele historische details, of gewoon het hele historische genre op zich. Toch, de geliefde van Giacomo Casanova aan het woord laten is een interessante keuze, ook al weet die in mijn geval weinig te beklijven. Eentje voor de liefhebbers, veronderstel ik. ( )
  WorldInColour | Oct 12, 2013 |
Prachtig. Mooi verhaal, gebaseerd op geweldige vondst. ( )
  emsboeken | Apr 9, 2010 |
I read the Dutch (original) version. A gem of a book, in a way. It's Fanny meets Cassanova. There was nothing really new in the book, but it was a pleasure to read.

Lucia meets a young Cassanova at the age of 15 (he's 17), they fall in love and agree to get married the next summer. When Cassanova is away, Lucia falls ill and as a result, her face is disfigured. Knowing that this will seriously impair all propects of a successful future for her husband-to-be, she runs off.

After 20 or so years, they meet again. However, he does not realise it is her. They fall in love all over again. And again, she has to decide whether to run or stay. ( )
  judithann | Sep 21, 2007 |
Showing 1-5 of 6 (next | show all)
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Epigraph
Many things that exist only in the imagination later become real. -G.C.
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For Elsa
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The evening on which I came to see everything in a new light, I was planning to dine, as I did every Thursday, with Mr. Jamieson, a wholesaler of skins and tobacco, and then perhaps to go dancing with him.
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Original title: Een schitterend gebrek
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 140009612X, Paperback)

Lucia works as a servant girl in Italy and is engaged to be married. But after the pox disfigures her face, she flees in shame without telling her lover. Years later, as a reknowned Amsterdam courtesan who never goes out without her veil, Lucia is at the theater when she recognizes her long-lost fiancé, Giacomo Casanova; and she cannot resist the opportunity to encounter him again. Based on a woman who appeared briefly in Casanova’s legendary diaries, Lucia emerges as a brilliant woman who becomes every bit his match. In Lucia’s Eyes is an elegant and moving story of love denied and transformed.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:25:35 -0400)

"Amsterdam 1758, and a man is artfully seducing a woman. He is, to all appearances, Monsieur le Chevalier de Seingalt, she a courtesan well-known in Amsterdam for the fact that she never removes her veil. He sets her a challenge: if she can find a woman who has suffered after falling in love with him, she is entitled to resist his charms; if not, she should play his game." "What Seingalt doesn't know is that he has already met the veiled woman many years ago, in another life. What Lucia doesn't know is that Seingalt will go down in history as one of the world's greatest lovers, Casanova." "The inspiration for this perfectly plotted, wonderfully romantic historical novel lies in Casanova's memoirs, and a tine reference to the woman he fell in love with as a young man, but later met, hideously disfigured, in an Amsterdam brothel."--BOOK JACKET.… (more)

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