Sunday, September 4, 2011

Burning Bright, by Tracy Chevalier

Tracy Chevalier is one of my favorite authors. I've loved every book she's written, except this one. Although she created believable and endearing characters in Jem and Maggie, she failed to make the real star of the book, William Blake, much more than a friendly blur. If A Girl with Pearl Earring gave me insight into Vermeer, Burning Bright only more confused my understanding of Blake. The children's references to opposites, as an underpinning theme to Blake's Songs of Innocence and Songs of Experience, seemed forced, and most of the recitations of the poetry did as well.

I did enjoy getting to know the children in the story, who were very real and mostly endearing, as well as the English landscape, but the plot was only engaging in a few areas, unlike everything else Chevalier has written. Even my least favorite, Virgin Blue, was better than this one. What a disappointment.