4 out of 4 stars
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Saved as a Painting is a unique memoir-like novel that brings forth two compelling stories. It is the summer of 2009, and Noa is a fifty-seven-year-old woman who has recently moved to her home city, Tel Aviv. She spent most of her life in Nottingham, America, so Tel Aviv was a strange and challenging adjustment. The ensuing distractions also seemed to counteract her mission to complete a remarkable story about Kata, a woman who moved heaven and earth to care for her family. To tell Kata’s story, Noa had to go back to her mother’s life story. She was a high-society woman who chose love over wealth and married a man her parents deemed unfit.
Consequently, they disowned her and condemned her to a life of poverty (but with immense happiness). Kata contrastingly chose a life of wealth besides a man she respected but never loved. Her marriage was satisfactory but never happy. She did it for her mother and sister and got them out of poverty. At the tender age of nineteen, she married a wealthy man, twenty years her junior, and her legacy began. Kata always had a serene demeanor, remaining calm and levelheaded even during Hungary’s most trying moments. She bravely faced the gendarmes, and her murder further propelled her across the seas to the United States of America and into the twenty-first century. In narrating Kata’s bloodline, Noa also reveals bits about her life, struggles, the five loves of her life, and one cunning one.
Tali Geva creatively writes an engaging and highly descriptive novel with two storylines and two authors. The book’s introduction instantly draws one in and turns out to be a snippet of the book’s conclusion, leaving one in suspense and engrossed in the story. Geva exhaustively describes each character and scene, enabling the reader to have a complete visual impression. All the physical and personality traits, including the minute quirks a person has, are clear. The settings and scenes include pleasant and unpleasant smells, temperature conditions, and even architectural details, like the streets of Tel Aviv. The use of metaphors, similes, and sarcasm throughout the read further improves the reading experience.
The most appealing and my favorite aspect of the book is the overall format. As a reader, one sees Noa struggle through her writer’s block, explore various writing styles, and debate on the direction of the story before settling and continuing. The timeline moves from 2009 to several early timelines like the wars and persecution eras. The reader also gets to see Noa’s source of inspiration and interaction with the woman who brought Kata to her. Therefore, the story unfolds from three unique angles. There is nothing to complain about the book. It additionally has specific years and dates of all the iconic happenings, making it realistic and easy to follow.
I found only one minor grammatical error, evidence of the book’s excellent editing. The intimate and erotic descriptions are in tasteful details, and the language employed is simple, with minimal profanities. The story slightly touches on religion through the practices of the Jewish faith, but not in a distracting way. Saved as a Painting is a profound book whose origin is a striking and immortal painting that sets one on a journey of heartbreaking wars, religious persecution, and Europe’s heartbreaking past. It further has romance, affairs, genuine and toxic marriages, and strenuous family bonds. I heartily give it a rating of 4 out of 4 stars. I recommend the book to anyone looking for a memoir-like plot with a lot of suspense, emotions, and curious supernatural/beyond-the-grave interactions.
Saved as a Painting
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