Official Review: Insectual by Barbara Sala

Please use this forum to discuss historical fiction books. Common definitions define historical fiction as novels written at least 25-50 years after the book's setting.
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ananya92
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Official Review: Insectual by Barbara Sala

Post by ananya92 » 15 Jun 2015, 13:24

[Following is the official OnlineBookClub.org review of "Insectual" by Barbara Sala.]
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4 out of 4 stars
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Insectual: The Secret of the Black Butterfly by Barbara Sala is a book which can be categorized in the Historical fiction genre.

This story traces Maya’s journey which begins in Germany, coinciding with the Second World War. Maya grew up in Bavarian Alps, where the family had fled to escape from the bombing raids. Growing up was a tough experience for Maya, due to the constant tension between her parents which culminated in their divorce. After finishing her education Maya moves to former Belgian Congo as part of a UN mission. There she meets and marries her Italian colleague and gives birth to her two children, in the middle of all the chaos of the Mulele Revolution. The ensuing revolution forces Maya and Lorenzo (her husband) to move to Montreal with their family. Maya’s life has been eventful but there has been an ailment ailing her, gnawing at her subconscious constantly, something that she calls ‘the devil’. This ‘devil’ is now threatening to end her marriage and tear apart her family. Maya undergoes psychotherapy to find out the reason behind this condition and discovers that the answer is hidden in the troubled memories of her childhood. Will she find out the truth that she desperately seeks?

The book is divided into four parts with around seventy chapters in all. All the chapters begin with a dialogue quoted from the chapter, accompanied with an intriguing, often funny, illustration. The illustrations are mostly related to Maya’s fantasies or her dreams. The story is written in first person and starts with Maya’s life in Montreal. The story is written mostly in the form of flashbacks and the author takes the reader back and forth in time, tracing Maya’s journey across three continents. The fantasies and dreams which the author conjures for Maya’s character are quite inventive, with a deeper meaning camouflaged in them. One huge positive of this story is its unpredictability. With every flashback a new facet of Maya’s life comes to fore, changing the direction of the story. There are plenty of metaphors and symbolism used by the author to narrate this tale.

This book is pretty unusual in the sense that though there are some familiar elements like sexual abuse, troubled child psychology due to separation of parents, etc, it doesn’t follow the oft taken route and displays a twisted view of things. At times I was confused whether I should see Maya as a victim of circumstances or a victim of her own mind. Our protagonist, Maya, lives in a dual world caught between reality and the world of her imagination. She desperately wants to save her marriage and give her children a good family life. The other characters in this book are also interesting and not conventional characters made in the familiar mold. One would sympathize and be annoyed with them at the same time.

The author weaves in two important events in history and portrays them through a different lens. Readers who like psychological thrillers coupled with historical content should try this one. This book tells a story which is thought provoking and has a dark tone. I rate it 4 out of 4 stars for its unusual plot and riveting storyline.

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Insectual
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Post by debo9967 » 19 Jun 2015, 13:05

The concept seems quite different. Good review.
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Post by Ealasaid » 19 Jun 2015, 13:15

Thank you for this review! I love historical fiction but am not as much of a fan of psychological thrillers. It sounds interesting the way the author weaved these genres together.
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Post by ananya92 » 19 Jun 2015, 15:33

Thanks :)

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Post by Jesska6029 » 29 Jun 2015, 23:00

Wow! This book seems to have it all. Nice review!
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Post by ananya92 » 30 Jun 2015, 00:11

Thanks :)

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Post by Levi » 30 Jun 2015, 00:27

Enjoyable review. Thank you. I don't think that I will read this book, but you did a wonderful job relaying your thoughts.
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Post by ananya92 » 30 Jun 2015, 10:04

Thanks :)

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Post by Cee-Jay Aurinko » 02 Jul 2015, 08:17

Sounds like a nice long read. Great review. I've read too many books thus far in which a main character has a "devil" inside him/her that threatens to change their way of life. One more and I'll start banging my head against a wall, over and over again until someone asks me why, and I'll tell them: "devils". I think I'll skip novels with this premise for a while. Say, for two years. Again, great review. It reads easy. You deserve a gold star.
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Post by bluemel4 » 02 Jul 2015, 08:59

Great review. This sounds like a book I would enjoy. :D
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Post by ananya92 » 02 Jul 2015, 09:43

@Leon: Ha, Ha!
Thanks both of you :)

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Post by kimmyschemy06 » 20 Nov 2015, 05:59

The book sounds really interesting. I would like to read about 'Maya’s fantasies or her dreams' :D Great review! Congratulations to Barbara Sala for a wonderful book!

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Post by ananya92 » 20 Nov 2015, 07:09

Thanks :)

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