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The Venetian's Wife: A Strangely Sensual Tale of a Renaissance Explorer, a Computer, and a Metamorphosis

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Nick Bantock's illustrated novel, The Venetian's Wife, is part love story, part mystery, and part ghostly tale—and an altogether bewitching brew of sensuality and lost treasures. Thoroughly bored with her job at the local museum, Sarah heads to the gallery to take another look at that new drawing, the one she can't stop thinking about, the one of the Hindu god Shiva, who dances Nick Bantock's illustrated novel, The Venetian's Wife, is part love story, part mystery, and part ghostly tale—and an altogether bewitching brew of sensuality and lost treasures. Thoroughly bored with her job at the local museum, Sarah heads to the gallery to take another look at that new drawing, the one she can't stop thinking about, the one of the Hindu god Shiva, who dances...That's when it all begins. The next day, an e-mail message brings her a job offer: to find the few remaining pieces of a 15th-century adventurer's renowned collection of Indian sculptures. Her employer, curiously, wishes to communicate only by computer. She has no idea who he is or why he wants her. But other mysteries soon preoccupy her, such as the meaning of an enigmatic illuminated manuscript—and the sensual transformation that seems to be overtaking her. Through her quirkily decorated diary and the artful e-mail exchanges between Sara and her mentor, Nick Bantock has conjured up a richly illustrated tale of a relentless quest, an amorous legacy, and the resonating power of art—a lush, romantic adventure of the soul that tantalizes the reader to the last line.


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Nick Bantock's illustrated novel, The Venetian's Wife, is part love story, part mystery, and part ghostly tale—and an altogether bewitching brew of sensuality and lost treasures. Thoroughly bored with her job at the local museum, Sarah heads to the gallery to take another look at that new drawing, the one she can't stop thinking about, the one of the Hindu god Shiva, who dances Nick Bantock's illustrated novel, The Venetian's Wife, is part love story, part mystery, and part ghostly tale—and an altogether bewitching brew of sensuality and lost treasures. Thoroughly bored with her job at the local museum, Sarah heads to the gallery to take another look at that new drawing, the one she can't stop thinking about, the one of the Hindu god Shiva, who dances...That's when it all begins. The next day, an e-mail message brings her a job offer: to find the few remaining pieces of a 15th-century adventurer's renowned collection of Indian sculptures. Her employer, curiously, wishes to communicate only by computer. She has no idea who he is or why he wants her. But other mysteries soon preoccupy her, such as the meaning of an enigmatic illuminated manuscript—and the sensual transformation that seems to be overtaking her. Through her quirkily decorated diary and the artful e-mail exchanges between Sara and her mentor, Nick Bantock has conjured up a richly illustrated tale of a relentless quest, an amorous legacy, and the resonating power of art—a lush, romantic adventure of the soul that tantalizes the reader to the last line.

30 review for The Venetian's Wife: A Strangely Sensual Tale of a Renaissance Explorer, a Computer, and a Metamorphosis

  1. 4 out of 5

    PurplyCookie

    The subtitle of this oversized, lavishly illustrated volume confirms that we are once again in the kind of quasi-mythical kingdom that provided the setting for writer and illustrator Bantok's bestselling Griffin and Sabine series. I did like the epistolatory style of the book: all emails, journal entries, and letters. San Francisco art conservator Sara Wolfe, who is fascinated by a drawing of the Indian god Shiva hanging on the walls of the museum where she works, receives an e-mail m The subtitle of this oversized, lavishly illustrated volume confirms that we are once again in the kind of quasi-mythical kingdom that provided the setting for writer and illustrator Bantok's bestselling Griffin and Sabine series. I did like the epistolatory style of the book: all emails, journal entries, and letters. San Francisco art conservator Sara Wolfe, who is fascinated by a drawing of the Indian god Shiva hanging on the walls of the museum where she works, receives an e-mail message from one N. Conti, who somehow is aware of her obsession and offers her a job traveling around the world assembling back his 40 pieace sculture set of Indian deities. The narrative proceeds via these e-mail messages and through the protagonists' entries into their computer journals. Her employer, curiously, wishes to communicate only by computer. She has no idea who he is or why he wants her. But other mysteries soon preoccupy her, such as the meaning of an enigmatic illuminated manuscript -- and the sensual transformation that seems to be overtaking her. In this story, however, Sara and Conti are not fated to be lovers. The latter, in fact, is the ghost of a real-life figure, wealthy Renaissance merchant and indefatigable traveler Niccolo Dei Conti, who died in 1469 and needs Sara's help in order to be reunited with his wife, Yasoda, in the afterlife. And Sara, with Conti's help, discovers her own destined mate, a colleague called Marco (surely Bantok's humorous reference to another fabled traveler). The mysteries around which the plot hinge on Conti's identity and his ultimate purpose in reassembling his collection are suspensefully maintained, augmented by Bantok's intensely colorful and often sensual illustrations. I was very disappointed by the lacklustre ending I got. It's left to the reader to assume that Sara or Marco or both are descendants of Conti in some way but it's vague. I love the idea of a love so intense and profound that even death cannot overcome it and I'm willing to accept that Conti had to wait for a certain person with the right combination of factors to appear to unlock the key before he could be reunited with his beloved Yashoda, but Bantock could have given us a far better ending than the one he did, considering the superb buildup. Book Details: Title The Venetian's Wife: A Strangely Sensual Tale of a Renaissance Explorer, a Computer, and a Metamorphosis Author Nick Bantock Reviewed By Purplycookie

  2. 5 out of 5

    Jen

    Sara is a tightly closed bud; she prefers the safety of her solitude to the risk of opening herself to others. She slowly unfurls and blossoms while she tracks down the last missing pieces of the ghostly Dei Conti's sculpture collection. This is a pleasant enough bedtime story for adults, but it isn't Bantock's best work. The lushly layered artwork is beautiful, the crash course in Indian mythology is very interesting and possibly my favorite part of the book, and Dei Conti's backgrou Sara is a tightly closed bud; she prefers the safety of her solitude to the risk of opening herself to others. She slowly unfurls and blossoms while she tracks down the last missing pieces of the ghostly Dei Conti's sculpture collection. This is a pleasant enough bedtime story for adults, but it isn't Bantock's best work. The lushly layered artwork is beautiful, the crash course in Indian mythology is very interesting and possibly my favorite part of the book, and Dei Conti's background is fascinating. Unfortunately, the writing is often weak (she gazed into his "brownie-black eyes"?!), and Sara's tepid romance interferes with the pacing and detracts from more interesting elements of the plot. Perhaps if Sara's character had been developed more fully, I would've sympathized with her reticence and cheered for her as she began to reach out. Unfortunately, Bantock didn't give me any convincing reasons to care about Sara, and I wish Bantock had not written this as Sara's love story. Dei Conti's passionate love for his wife is much more moving.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Sara

    I received this book initially as a gift from a friend who had picked it up and read the flyleaf description of a story of Sara(h) Wolf, an art conservator. Written by the clever and charming Nick Bantock, artist and author, don't begin this book at night because you won't be able to put it down. This book caused me to write to the author to ask how he had come up with the name, and thus began a brief but wonderful correspondence. Bantock is also the author of the wonderful Griffin and Sabine se I received this book initially as a gift from a friend who had picked it up and read the flyleaf description of a story of Sara(h) Wolf, an art conservator. Written by the clever and charming Nick Bantock, artist and author, don't begin this book at night because you won't be able to put it down. This book caused me to write to the author to ask how he had come up with the name, and thus began a brief but wonderful correspondence. Bantock is also the author of the wonderful Griffin and Sabine series - a tactile as well as visual pleasure and ready answer to anyone who thinks that physical books will ever disappear in favor of electronic versions. I have read and re-read his books as much for the art as for the stories. These are books to have on your bookshelf and treasure.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Writerlibrarian

    Even after 13 years, this book is still a lovely, lovely story and wonderful art work. Even the technology is not too out dated. We use private journal site now but the term computer diary is still pretty generic to still fit in now. I loved it when I first read it and again with this reread. It's one book I usually recommend to people with different tastes in literature. People that have read the latest Goncourt or pretend they have, people who love discovering something different. I Even after 13 years, this book is still a lovely, lovely story and wonderful art work. Even the technology is not too out dated. We use private journal site now but the term computer diary is still pretty generic to still fit in now. I loved it when I first read it and again with this reread. It's one book I usually recommend to people with different tastes in literature. People that have read the latest Goncourt or pretend they have, people who love discovering something different. It's not high literature, far from it. Bantock is more an artist than a writer, he blends art work with his own brand of storytelling. He write about love, infinite love. His Griffin and Sabine books are art work more than stories but well worth checking out. The Venetian's Wife is my favorite of all his books. I haven't kept up with his latest ones. My last one was Alexandria in 2002 which I loved and ended up giving it as a gift to a friend.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Christopher

    THE VENETIAN'S WIFE came out in 1996, when former children's book illustrator Nick Bantock was riding the wave of popularity following his tale of a curious correspondence, the Griffin and Sabine trilogy. That trilogy was tolerable, because its exotic format with real envelopes to be opened and an abundance of beautiful paintings made up for the derivative and hackneyed storyline. In THE VENETIAN'S WIFE, Bantock continues to adorn the book with art, but it's very limited compared to the G&S THE VENETIAN'S WIFE came out in 1996, when former children's book illustrator Nick Bantock was riding the wave of popularity following his tale of a curious correspondence, the Griffin and Sabine trilogy. That trilogy was tolerable, because its exotic format with real envelopes to be opened and an abundance of beautiful paintings made up for the derivative and hackneyed storyline. In THE VENETIAN'S WIFE, Bantock continues to adorn the book with art, but it's very limited compared to the G&S trilogy, so that Bantock's poor skills as a writer show all the more clearly. THE VENETIAN'S WIFE begins with the death of an explorer, Niccolo dei Conti, in 15th century Italy, when he had lost his Indian wife and two children to a plague. More than 500 years later, Sara Wolfe, a restorator of art in San Francisco, receives an e-mail message from an "N. dei Conti." This mysterious employer hires Sara to bring together a group of Hindu statues that Niccolo dei Conti gathered in his travels in India. It turns out that the messages are sent by Conti's ghost, who can travel through computers and other electrical devices. Thus, THE VENETIAN'S WIFE joins other lackluster "ghost in the machine" tales of that part of the 90's, like Astro Teller's EXEGESIS. THE VENETIAN'S WIFE eventually becomes slightly "sensual." Or so the dust jacket says. I found its kooky New Age eroticism to be highly annoying. Sara enters a relationship with a fellow employee of her museum and the two are brought into a dark plot of Indian sex magic. Or whatever, Bantock doesn't write any portion of this aspect of the book convincingly. The Griffin and Sabine trilogy was a gimmick that was still worth reading because of its lovely art. THE VENETIAN'S WIFE, however, is a waste of time in which Bantock's skills as a painter are so rarely visible that nothing saves the book from a silly and badly-prosed plot. I'd recommend avoiding this one.

  6. 4 out of 5

    guiltlessreader

    Read the full review, with photos of the art at: http://guiltlessreading.blogspot.com/... The book in one sentence: A bored young art conservator rekindles her passion for life starting with an unlikely encounter with a drawing of the Hindu God Shiva. My thoughts: This is an unusual book. The title alone gives you an inkling that it's not a typical story. In fact, it may seem such an odd combination that i Read the full review, with photos of the art at: http://guiltlessreading.blogspot.com/... The book in one sentence: A bored young art conservator rekindles her passion for life starting with an unlikely encounter with a drawing of the Hindu God Shiva. My thoughts: This is an unusual book. The title alone gives you an inkling that it's not a typical story. In fact, it may seem such an odd combination that it may put you off. After all, what on earth could these things have in common: a Renaissance Explorer, a Computer, and a Metamorphosis? But that is exactly what you'll get and there is nothing remotely corny about it. In fact, I found the experience of flipping through this book quite heady - a combination of romance, a mystery story, the mysticism of India, and rich luxuriant images. The book opens with the renaissance explorer - a flashback to Niccolo Conti's anguish as he loses his beloved wife. It then comes back to the present-day and Sara Wolfe's arousing encounter with a drawing of Shiva in the museum where she works. An unlikely correspondence ensues. Someone who has witnessed her extreme reaction in the museum contacts her through email, and she is offered a job: to track down the missing pieces of a 15th-century adventurer's collection of Indian sculptures. Her employer, Niccolo Conti - curiously of the same name as the explorer - insists on communicating solely through the computer. Who is he? Why does he want to communicate only through email? Curiouser and curiouser. Read the full review, with photos of the art at: http://guiltlessreading.blogspot.com/...

  7. 4 out of 5

    Lisa

    This is the first book by Nick Bantock that I read. Perhaps because of when I read it, in the late 1990's, it seemed so innovative, clever. The idea of deities acting through the Internet, and mortal agents, was not a common theme. It still isn't common. I read most of this book in the New York Public Library, during several rainy afternoons, and wished it was longer, or that there were a sequel. There wasn't though. I liked this much better than anything else written by Nick Bantock. Although This is the first book by Nick Bantock that I read. Perhaps because of when I read it, in the late 1990's, it seemed so innovative, clever. The idea of deities acting through the Internet, and mortal agents, was not a common theme. It still isn't common. I read most of this book in the New York Public Library, during several rainy afternoons, and wished it was longer, or that there were a sequel. There wasn't though. I liked this much better than anything else written by Nick Bantock. Although Griffin and Sabine had an original and appealing notes-in-envelopes, interactive format, it was weaker that The Venetian's Wife, in terms of plot and character development. Other Bantock books were almost incomprehensible to me e.g. The Museum at Purgatory The reason I especially enjoyed The Venetian's Wife was because it consistently alluded to a few basic themes in the Hindu pantheon, so that I was able to guess or imagine for myself, whenever Bantock omitted detail or descriptions. I liked Bantock's sketches and diagrams. Lord Shiva They were simple, vivid, memorable. Also good: The high quality printing and production of the hardback edition, which was quite reasonably priced, as I later noticed.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Darby

    The art and the words of this book are beautiful, sensual and captivating. I found myself drawn in - wondering where it would go and what image I would see when I turned the page. As always with Bantock - his collages just amaze and inspire me. It didn't get 5 stars because I didn't like how it ended. It wasn't a neat package that answered questions. Instead it left me with more questions then answers.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Beth Wisniewski

    Absolutely LOVED the story!! I wish I could give this book 10 stars!

  10. 4 out of 5

    Kim

    Definitely not my type of book. But I read it through until the end anyway just to find out what happened. Meh.

  11. 5 out of 5

    kelsie

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. 7/10 Stars She moves like Mercury, circling the room, touching with golden fingers the pots, pans, candle holders and all things metal. She discovers the knife that Niccolo Dei Conti’s hand rests on, and because his feet are firmly planted on the floor she burns out his heart. Recommendation: If you’re looking for something very different, check this out. Because it’s so short, I would suggest reading it without any prior knowledge of what it’s about! The Good: - The best part of this book was the first page. I k/>The/>She 7/10 Stars She moves like Mercury, circling the room, touching with golden fingers the pots, pans, candle holders and all things metal. She discovers the knife that Niccolo Dei Conti’s hand rests on, and because his feet are firmly planted on the floor she burns out his heart. Recommendation: If you’re looking for something very different, check this out. Because it’s so short, I would suggest reading it without any prior knowledge of what it’s about! The Good: - The best part of this book was the first page. I know that’s not exactly a selling point, but I was absolutely enraptured by the delicate writing. It’s just the right amount of prose-y to avoid being pretentious. - The formatting was very interesting and definitely helped keep me engaged. I loved the book pages and old journals and magazine leaflets. The broke up the narrative nicely. The Bad: - The dialogue was stiff and unrealistic, especially in the later chapters. It took a lot of suspension of disbelief to convince me that anyone would actually speak the way Sara sometimes did. - Everything felt too convenient. I wanted the search for the statues to take longer and pose more challenges, and I wanted Sara to be more involved in seeking them out. I think that could have been an interesting way to develop her more naturally and maybe even to introduce Marco as a more central character. - Sara’s character development seemed to happen because of external influences rather than internal contemplation. The statues felt like a bigger catalyst to her emotional opening up, which is really too bad because I think the plot had potential for a lot of introspection on her part. Tl;dr: I think this was an interesting concept for a book, but the execution didn’t fully get there for me. I wanted it to be twice as long and a little more character focused. That said, it was a unique read.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Sasha

    After discovering the "Griffin & Sabine" series, I became a Thriftbooks detective and ordered several of Nick Bantock's other volumes, both within the trilogies and without. I loved his obscure pop-up "Kublai Khan", his puzzles, his pyramids, etc. He has such a unique and refreshing perspective, and his artwork reminds me of Gustave Moreau. When I came across "The Venetian's Wife", I was really excited. It didn't matter that I had no inkling what a "sensual tale" was. Venice! Renaissance! Tr After discovering the "Griffin & Sabine" series, I became a Thriftbooks detective and ordered several of Nick Bantock's other volumes, both within the trilogies and without. I loved his obscure pop-up "Kublai Khan", his puzzles, his pyramids, etc. He has such a unique and refreshing perspective, and his artwork reminds me of Gustave Moreau. When I came across "The Venetian's Wife", I was really excited. It didn't matter that I had no inkling what a "sensual tale" was. Venice! Renaissance! Transformation! I was invested. Of all the Bantock books I've read thus far, this had the least amount of artwork, and was also the least plausible. I'm just so perplexed. Though the characters are well fleshed out (sensual pun!) and likable, and the plot meanders nicely, I didn't understand the POINT of this book. The most important parts and motivations are never really elucidated. Additionally, it didn't feel sexy or romantic - it honestly felt like a ghost voyeur show. The action was too conveniently handled, predictable when it should've been breathless, and unpredictable when it should've been developed and explained. I guess here's the gist of it: Do you like your job? If some rando called you on the phone and offered you tons of money to quit and help him track down super rare and priceless Indian artwork, would you accept? If the answer is yes, read this. If it's an unequivocal no, you're not missing out.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Abby Luces

    The 3 star rating is based on the illustrations and the photographs, which are stunning! I tend to sell books that I bought but don't really click with. These illustrations are making me want to hold on to this and add it to my collection. The story itself is linear, nothing surprising, this shouldn't be classified as erotica, there is none at all; its more of sharing of experiences with a slight tinge of history and culture along the way. Its a quick read, I'd recommend it if you want something The 3 star rating is based on the illustrations and the photographs, which are stunning! I tend to sell books that I bought but don't really click with. These illustrations are making me want to hold on to this and add it to my collection. The story itself is linear, nothing surprising, this shouldn't be classified as erotica, there is none at all; its more of sharing of experiences with a slight tinge of history and culture along the way. Its a quick read, I'd recommend it if you want something light, with a fantasy twinge and is a very visual person.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Eric

    I'm not familiar with any of this author's other books. Apparently they were well-received. I don't know about this one but it seemed to me to mostly be a thinly-veiled excuse for some art that someone would find interesting, but I really didn't. For the tension and intrigue to build, it really needed at least twice as many pages, assuming the author could sustain it. I am glad that Free Little Libraries exist so I didn't spend the money on it, and so that I got to try it out and learn a bit abo I'm not familiar with any of this author's other books. Apparently they were well-received. I don't know about this one but it seemed to me to mostly be a thinly-veiled excuse for some art that someone would find interesting, but I really didn't. For the tension and intrigue to build, it really needed at least twice as many pages, assuming the author could sustain it. I am glad that Free Little Libraries exist so I didn't spend the money on it, and so that I got to try it out and learn a bit about authors that I typically wouldn't encounter.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Barb

    Not enough adjectives to describe this book. Sadly I know next to nothing of Hinduism and its various Gods. The plot and illustrations are superb! It is like slipping into a hot bath after a bad day. If you haven't read the Griffin and Sabine Trilogy it would be a good introduction to Nick Bantock's work. Ingenious, inventive and leaves a lasting impression. I read the G & S Trilogy decades ago so was thrilled to find The Venetian's Wife! ENJOY!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  16. 5 out of 5

    Charlene Colón Tollison

    ⭐⭐⭐ I loved this story and I wish it would have lasted longer. It felt rushed and I have so many questions still lingering. Usually it is so satisfying to finish a book but with this book I was sad that it wasn't longer. 📜 Book 1 of 5 is now done for my #BookJunkieTrials readathon! #scribe #readathon @the.book.junkie.trials

  17. 5 out of 5

    Sally

    A lovely, imaginative, magical tale that is perfect for reading over a quiet weekend when you have time to take in the charming illustrations and ponder how the arts and the gods might very well shape our lives.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Lisa Daleiden-brugman

    Fun and quick read.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Dawn

    I love this book and this writer is so out of the box it makes it fun to read that gets you involved in the story.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Christy

    It’s no Griffin & Sabine. Sweet story of a ghost’s assistant who resonates to Shiva’s drum.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Laura Zurowski

    I loved the first two Griffin & Sabine books with all my heart, and despite reading that Nick Bantock never really managed to re-create G&S's artistic and literary intrigue and fun in subsequent stories, when I stumbled upon Venetian's Wife in a used books store, I couldn't resist. Yes, the story initially captivates - a mysterious man is searching for a collection of centuries lost Hindu sculptures and enlists the help of a young museum assistant who has closed herself off fr I loved the first two Griffin & Sabine books with all my heart, and despite reading that Nick Bantock never really managed to re-create G&S's artistic and literary intrigue and fun in subsequent stories, when I stumbled upon Venetian's Wife in a used books store, I couldn't resist. Yes, the story initially captivates - a mysterious man is searching for a collection of centuries lost Hindu sculptures and enlists the help of a young museum assistant who has closed herself off from the world. But, instead of taking time to develop characters, tension, and a thought-provoking story-line, before we know it, we're at the happily ever after ending. Huh??? Even the graphic design and collage-style artwork, which was so enjoyable, unique, and memorable in G&S, leaves one wishing there had been a bit more thought and attention to detail. It's as if Venetian's Wife was a "must deliver" publishing contract promise that was hurried out the gate instead of taking the time to fully explore the subject matter and develop another trilogy (or at least a longer book). For those reasons, I give it only 2 stars. "It was ok" pretty much sums up how I felt - which then resulted in real heartbreak on my end because I wanted so much more magic than what was ultimately delivered.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Nino

    This was supposed to be bedside reading. Bad idea. Couldn't put it down soon as I got about a third into the book. But then, I should have realized that Nick Bantock just doesn't offer you a visual feast but also regale you with an intriguing tale. The first time I came across Nick Bantock's name was when a friend got a copy of Griffin and Sabine, the bestselling epistolary novel as reinvented by the author. This was way back in 1991. I was blown away by the artwork, with the story li This was supposed to be bedside reading. Bad idea. Couldn't put it down soon as I got about a third into the book. But then, I should have realized that Nick Bantock just doesn't offer you a visual feast but also regale you with an intriguing tale. The first time I came across Nick Bantock's name was when a friend got a copy of Griffin and Sabine, the bestselling epistolary novel as reinvented by the author. This was way back in 1991. I was blown away by the artwork, with the story literally unfolding as the reader goes through page after page of postcards and letters tucked in their envelopes. And it was no gimmick, too, as the "exotic" imagery of the postcards and letters fit neatly into the mysterious correspondence between the characters. While The Venetian's Wife (San Francisco, CA: Chronicle Books, 1996) involves less reader interactivity -- with the catalogs and other artwork neatly incorporated into regular pages -- it is no less the visual treat and compelling novel. You should get yourself a copy as I'm not giving any spoilers. -- from http://www.ninosoriadeveyra.com/1/pos...

  23. 4 out of 5

    Stephanie A.

    I was just fascinated and enchanted by everything, including but not limited to: -the format: a combination of emails, diary entries, the email-only employer's first-person narration, and pictures of everything from auction flyers to pages of a latter-century diary -the premise: a plain-Jane museum worker is given the opportunity to travel the world in exchange for some research and acquisition of four missing antiquities to complete a collection -the history: I was not familiar w I was just fascinated and enchanted by everything, including but not limited to: -the format: a combination of emails, diary entries, the email-only employer's first-person narration, and pictures of everything from auction flyers to pages of a latter-century diary -the premise: a plain-Jane museum worker is given the opportunity to travel the world in exchange for some research and acquisition of four missing antiquities to complete a collection -the history: I was not familiar with anything discussed, but I loved reading about how the collection had dispersed through the centuries -the twist: (view spoiler)[the email-only employer is a ghost from the 15th century who can "jump into" phone wires, computers and other electronics, giving him infinite wealth and information about private correspondence. He wants his collection back. Who can blame him? If I ever turn into a ghost I am TOTALLY hiring someone to restore or recreate my book collection. (hide spoiler)] It was all slightly nebulous, but I was never lost. While I was turning the pages, I felt like I was on the quest right alongside Sarah. (Sadly, no riches were deposited into my bank account.)

  24. 4 out of 5

    Melissa

    I love books like these...illustrated novels with an underlying mystery. It housed pretty much everything that I enjoy reading about: diary entries, letters, and e-mails, then an art mystery, and a love story (in this case two) that is timeless. Really fantastic. The story: A women working at an art museum gets an e-mail from a Mr. N. Conti asking her if she would like to be employed gathering pieces of his lost art collection (40 pieces total). This job gives her the opportunity to t I love books like these...illustrated novels with an underlying mystery. It housed pretty much everything that I enjoy reading about: diary entries, letters, and e-mails, then an art mystery, and a love story (in this case two) that is timeless. Really fantastic. The story: A women working at an art museum gets an e-mail from a Mr. N. Conti asking her if she would like to be employed gathering pieces of his lost art collection (40 pieces total). This job gives her the opportunity to travel the world and see many areas of the art world (how awful!). From auction houses, to specialized dealers she is able to track down each piece. Once the collection is complete you realize that Mr. Conti is a ghost from the past and that in completing this collection he is able to be reunited with his wife. The detail of how the collection of art was divided up and lost among the ages is exquisite. As well as how the art was collected in the first place (something he and his wife did together - thus its importance). Am excited to read "The Artful Dodger".

  25. 5 out of 5

    Michelle

    Sara, an art restorationist in San Francisco, has an oddly moving and sensual experience when viewing a drawing of Shiva at the museum. She receives an email message offering her a position based on her passion for the art. As she is bored and lonely, she takes a chance and begins work for her mysterious employer who wants her to help in recollect the art collection of a 15th century explorer, Conti, presumbably his ancestor. Sara pursues both the art and the history of the explorer as she trave Sara, an art restorationist in San Francisco, has an oddly moving and sensual experience when viewing a drawing of Shiva at the museum. She receives an email message offering her a position based on her passion for the art. As she is bored and lonely, she takes a chance and begins work for her mysterious employer who wants her to help in recollect the art collection of a 15th century explorer, Conti, presumbably his ancestor. Sara pursues both the art and the history of the explorer as she travels around the world, and becomes more open and engaged. She begins a relationship with a former co-worker and the mysterious Conti acts as a friend/guide/father figure. As with all Bantock books, it is beautifully illustrated and the mystery is intriguing. In fact, I wanted to know more and in some ways, I wish it had been developed into a regular novel, but it is very enjoyable in its current form, even though it leaves you wanting more.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Nancy

    Isn’t modern technology wonderful? Not only can we communicate with people from around the world (i.e. Goodreads), but in Bantock’s book, we can communicate with people who lived 500 years ago—all by electrical current. Here, using his exquisite artwork focusing on Hindu gods and goddesses, Bantock again enchants when he joins together Sara, a museum conservator, and the ghost of Niccoli Dei Conti, a 15th century merchant and world traveler, in a search to find the final five pieces of his famil Isn’t modern technology wonderful? Not only can we communicate with people from around the world (i.e. Goodreads), but in Bantock’s book, we can communicate with people who lived 500 years ago—all by electrical current. Here, using his exquisite artwork focusing on Hindu gods and goddesses, Bantock again enchants when he joins together Sara, a museum conservator, and the ghost of Niccoli Dei Conti, a 15th century merchant and world traveler, in a search to find the final five pieces of his family’s collection of Asian art. They communicate via e-mail and her personal computer diary. This is both a ghost story and a love story, and is again an example of Bantock’s creative energy gone wild. It’s clever to the point of being almost believable, and visually—a real treat! Last read in 1999.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Erin

    This book is ok. And just ok. I don't think that Nick Bantock is a particularly good writer, although he is an interesting artist. The format of the book, which has been written in the form of emails, diary entries, and various other pamphlets of sorts; I feel that this style of writing is just to cover up a poor writer's style and grammar. Don't get me wrong, it can be interesting and the story itself, though it had some silly reveals and predictable outcomes, it was an easy and moderately enjo This book is ok. And just ok. I don't think that Nick Bantock is a particularly good writer, although he is an interesting artist. The format of the book, which has been written in the form of emails, diary entries, and various other pamphlets of sorts; I feel that this style of writing is just to cover up a poor writer's style and grammar. Don't get me wrong, it can be interesting and the story itself, though it had some silly reveals and predictable outcomes, it was an easy and moderately enjoyable to read. And Bantock has this thing about not ending his book properly, as if to just cut the reader off from the story is his way of leaving you wanting more with a 'cliffhanger'. Although, he doesn't really do this properly or well in this book especially. All in all, The Venetian's Wife, take it or leave it.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Beatriz Andrea Fernandez

    While it does not have the mystery or urgency of the Griffin and Sabine series, "The Venetian's Wife" is its own gift. In some ways, it spoke to me more that Griffin and Sabine, because Sara is a much more familiar person to me. A 26-year-old virgin, working in a good but bland job, cut of from her own sensuality. Feels very familiar. So the vicarious adventure and character growth was personally very fun. However, even beyond my more subjective connection to the story, there still re While it does not have the mystery or urgency of the Griffin and Sabine series, "The Venetian's Wife" is its own gift. In some ways, it spoke to me more that Griffin and Sabine, because Sara is a much more familiar person to me. A 26-year-old virgin, working in a good but bland job, cut of from her own sensuality. Feels very familiar. So the vicarious adventure and character growth was personally very fun. However, even beyond my more subjective connection to the story, there still remains the truth that very few can craft such a sensual, romantic, and mysterious narrative quite like Nick Bantock. His seamless threading of myth and history together and into his stories gives his tales a level of gravitas while giving the real world a sheen of mystery and magic.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Jackie Law

    "When we parted at sundown I had lost my heart to her" (98). "From the moment of our garden encounter, I never loved anyone else and never desired to... my companion, my lover, and my teacher... taught me about loving, the physical and spiritual act of love that was so innocent" "When she taught me to touch, she schooled my soul." "Once Yasoda had chosen me, I was, and will be forever, under her spell." "I want you to understand that the virt "When we parted at sundown I had lost my heart to her" (98). "From the moment of our garden encounter, I never loved anyone else and never desired to... my companion, my lover, and my teacher... taught me about loving, the physical and spiritual act of love that was so innocent" "When she taught me to touch, she schooled my soul." "Once Yasoda had chosen me, I was, and will be forever, under her spell." "I want you to understand that the virtue in your experiences will not be based on self-denial, but by the manner in which your actions embody your soul's desire" (123). "Be proud and listen to your blood."

  30. 4 out of 5

    Jenny

    I read the Griffin and Sabine series in 2008, so I was expecting a story more in line with those books when I read this. Maybe I'm not remembering G&S very well, but I'm not sure what the point of this book is... G&S was a romance/travel/mystery and this one was a little bit of all of those but without strong characters. Plus there wasn't as much art to enjoy as there was in the G&S books. At least it was a short read so I didn't spend too much time on this and it was BAD, just not w I read the Griffin and Sabine series in 2008, so I was expecting a story more in line with those books when I read this. Maybe I'm not remembering G&S very well, but I'm not sure what the point of this book is... G&S was a romance/travel/mystery and this one was a little bit of all of those but without strong characters. Plus there wasn't as much art to enjoy as there was in the G&S books. At least it was a short read so I didn't spend too much time on this and it was BAD, just not what I was expecting.

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