Book review: Scherzo by Jim Williams

Jim Williams: Scherzo

When I was introduced to that book, I thought that it might be just the thing I liked: The story is mainly told by a young castrato singer who becomes part of a murder scheme in Venice in the late 18th century. That sounded just great but Williams apparently wanted much more of his story but also less: less opera singing, less real murder plot and less personal development of the characters. But those characters, especially young Ludovico, the poor eunuch, and the philosopher Arouet, possibly Voltaire, are just as enigmatic (or superficial) after reading 300 pages. Most parts of the story are told by Ludovico who describes his work for a nobleman in Venice and his share of the murder investigation after an important citizen of the town is brutally killed. But due to a lot of sub-stories about seduction, deduction, betrayal and whatsoever, I always lost track of the page-turning-idea of the book. As soon as things started to get interesting, Williams introduced something completely different that he might find entertaining or amusing, but – alas – I did not.

So, I have to admit that I was more than relieved when I finally reached page 300 which will leave the reader mainly just as puzzled and left behind as was to be feared after the first 50 pages.

I truly admire Williams’ imagination and phantasy but, well, this was definitely not the exciting or humorous read I was hoping for. What a pity.


Über kaynerlei

Übersetzer, Dolmetscher und Deutscher mit Wahlheimat in den Niederlanden, liebem Ehemann, zwei Hunden und Faible für Oper und schöne Stimmen
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