Monday, February 13, 2012

Review of "As Above, So Below" by Rudy Von B. Rucker

As Above, So BelowAs Above, So Below by Rudy Von B. Rucker

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Very fascinating fictional account of Pieter Bruegel the Elder's life.  Several famous paintings by the master were cleverly employed to propel the plot.  However, the stories got somewhat way too far-fetched.  The author, obviously no artist, gave a pedestrian account of how inspirations and commissions came to Bruegel and the depictions of process of creations were less than inspired.  The most serious flaw was the repetitive expositions (historical information best feed in through footnotes here) and the stiff dialogues.  That said, it was a fascinating story about a fascinating artist in a most stirring time. 

I remembered many paintings I saw in Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna and some in Rotterdam and I browsed a copy of a monograph on Bruegel and learned a scholarly account of those famous paintings and that made a complimentary study of this master.  After you've read this novel, it would be great to read similar monograph to fully grasp his achievement and his time.

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- Molotov's Magic Lantern: A Journey In Russian History by Rachel Polonsky and Some Journeys of My Own
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- Banned Books in Mao's China

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