Funny that I ended up reading two Nick Bantock books back to back, since I’d had both of them for so long and usually like to break things up. But I listed them on BookMooch and they were both taken within minutes, giving me a last chance to read them before sending them out. I’d had The Venetian’s Wife for over 12 years in my library. For that whole time was under the impression that I had already read it and when I opened it I saw I had penned “Christmas 1996” on an opening page, which brought back a vague memory that my father had probably given it to me. I had probably looked through it then set it aside thinking I’d read it later as some point and the rest is ancient history. So it was quite a wonderful surprise when I discovered a wholly new (to me) story. Where I felt The Museum at Purgatory fell short as far as the storyline goes, The Venetian’s Wife grabbed me from the beginning. A young woman working at a bland museum job is contacted via email one day by a complete stranger who asks her if she’ll work for him, her mission being to find four missing sculptures out of a collection of 42 depictions of Hindu gods. The design of the book was very appealing and the drawings and collages were quite beautiful and even included pages made to look like they were part of a catalogue and magazine, and though there weren’t necessarily illustrations on every page, it still felt richly crafted. I’m definitely glad I took the time to check whether I had actually read this book as I thought, or I would have seriously missed out. The moocher of this book works at a school in the Philippines, and I like thinking that it’ll go through many children’s hands, maybe inspiring new generations of artists and creative minds.
I rated this book: ★★★★½