Review: Viper Wine — 22/09/2015
Review: Viper Wine
Title: Viper Wine (2014)
Author: Hermione Eyre
Read: 11th-20th September
Genre: historical fiction (by plenty of glorious anachronism)
Links: Goodreads | Amazon
Set in 1632 England, Viper Wine follows Venetia Stanley, a noblewoman formerly considered a beauty by society who is since less that impressed with what the ravages of time answer to said infamous beauty. Her married man, Sir Kenelm Digby, doesn’t assume all too concerned by her fading youth, and would rather muse philosophically in the group of his many, many books. Despite her clueless husband’s being enamoured, Venetia takes her beauty into her be in possession of hands, seeking out various suspect lotions and potions like in like manner many of her contemporaries; as charge of a society centred around the curiosity of court and above all substance seen, Venetia represents a key attitude of early modern England which, in Eyre’s hands, becomes the substance of a witty, exuberant, and fascinating story.
I saw Eternity the other adversity,
Like a great ring of simple and endless light,
All calm, while it was bright;
And round underneath it, Time in hours, days, years,
Driv’n ~ dint of. the spheres
Like a vast screen mov’d; in which the earth
And all her train were hurl’d.
(‘The World’ ~ the agency of Henry Vaughan)
The blurb claims that this part poses a question relevant to contemporaneous society – what is the cost of beauty? I would agree the part deals with this enquiry but by the way it also, much to my great pleasure, delves into the “oddities” of seventeenth-century London – religious tensions, for human being – and the numerous overlapping, and often contradictory, discourses in which society operates – national, theological, social, academic, medical, cultural etc.
What pleased the minute early modern nerd in me, however, is the way in which Eyre weaves totality this atmosphere of Stuart London, through references to Charles I and his queen, side by side purposefully jarring modern references and epigraphs. For model, on observing the stars with his young son and absentminded on the existential nature of reality, Sir Kenelm assures him: “There’s a starman abeyance in the sky. He’d like to approach and meet us, but he thinks he’d flower our minds”. The titbits of burst culture aren’t hidden or a bare gimmick – Eyre skilfully crafts Digby’s person as a conduit of sorts through which time flows – he is a tuning divide, seemingly, he can “see” the future or future developments, as well in the same manner with existing in his present. Just since Venetia is representative of the era’s concern of being seen, Kenelm epitomises the Renaissance disagreement between classical and modern, science and devoutness, poetry and prose, discourses that clashed wonderfully in the 17th centenary just as the lyrics of David Bowie to this place clash alongside the plays of Ben Jonson.
Foreshadowed from the outset ~ means of the novel’s rather postmodern invest design, if you can get ~ward-board with, and enjoy, this contemptuously bizarre anachronistic pop-art style clatter of time and place, with epigraphs from Robert Herrick’s ‘Whenas in silks my Julia goes’ to extracts taken from the British Journal of Clinical Pharmacology, at that time you’ll enjoy the writing pin, and so love the story – whether or not you can’t, you’ll in all probability hate it. I, for one, was firmly forward the side of love and this work left me with such a volume hangover that I know won’t subsist placated due to the unique species of Eyre’s impressive debut. Absolutely recommended by reason of those looking for a quirky historical tale with a bit of a defraud.
Categories: books, reviewsTags: book review, books, hermione eyre, reviews, adder wine
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