The Blind Contessa's New Machine - Carey Wallace NO SPOILERS!!!

Through page 40: This is a love story – not just one love story, but actually several. A GR friend once remarked that I didn't like romance or that I rarely read love stories, and that is true. However I do enjoy love stories, but they must be magical as all real love is! The prose of this book is magical and enchanting, like a fairy tale for adults. See my quote from pages 36 and 37:

"Surprised, C looked at him."
"'You know that I love you,' he said."
"The words rang in her mind like an alarm bell."
"'I know,' she said, and took her hand away."

"But for P to receive full control of his lands and property, his father had also dictated that he should be married…."

"It was impossible that he should choose her, but: he must choose souse somebody. Like a child with a lottery ticket, she understood the slimness of her chance, but until another name was called, while her paper ticket melted in her damp hand, she had just as much right to dream of stepping up to receive the prize as anyone."

I want a fairy tale to be delightful in its essence, with dark dramatic punches of grief to tie it to the real world. I want this both in adult and children´s literature.

Through page 68: As anyone can see from the title the Contessa is going blind. The people who should understand don't, but others do. I find this interesting…… Some lack the insight or the courage to consider HER world rather than their own. Furthermore, her emotions are cleverly portrayed – her fear, her lack of understanding and her need to share her burden HONESTLY with another. Quote from page 61.

"Her sight had dwindled now so that her field of vision was almost completely overtaken by shadows, with two small bright spots through which she could see the world, as if through windows on the other side of the room."

An inventor friend had explained to her how vision can disappear either from the periphery, as it was doing in the Contessa's case or from the center. From pages 64-65.

"Hearing him speak the truth aloud, after keeping it in silence for so long, C was seized with a sudden urge to deny everything and retreat with her parents and P to the refuge of delusion for as long as it would shelter them. But the sound of T's voice also seemed to shake something loose: cut a weight free from her shoulders, throw a window open in the room."

Although this novel is historical fiction written in the guise of a fairy tale, there is much that can be compared to real life. Most people with an illness do NOT have all the facts presented to them. Science isn't foolproof and each individual reacts differently, both physically and emotionally.

I just finished the book, and wow did I love it. Yes, it had a fairy tale feel to it, but I believe it very well describes how it might feel to become blind. It is in fact historical fiction about the invention of the first typewriter! The thoughts and emotions that one might experience as one sinks into blindness are poignantly laid out. Little details that would never have occurred to me are cleverly depicted: Someone asks a question, but no reply is heard. That doesn't mean no reply was given! A head could have nodded in response. This is played out before your eyes. It gives you a punch in the gut. I have sighted just one example of many.

There are several main characters in the book. What each one says and does shows the reader each individual's particular temperament. Here follows just two examples:

"He was the first person she had spoken to outside her home since she lost her sight. For a moment shyness paralyzed her. Then she raised her eyes to what she guessed must be his face."
"'I'm much taller than you think.' T said. 'That's the third button of my shirt.'"
"Carolina lifted her eyes higher."
"'My Roman nose,' he said."
"She smiled and tried again." (page 98)

And on page 104.

"You are so beautiful. Who cares if you can see?"

One cannot help but smile at one person and grimace at another…… Me, I love Turri! I love his imagination and his belief in dreams. He gives the Contessa much more than just the first typewriter. You must read the story to find out what he gives her and also how the Contessa comes to live her life.

BUT: don't expect to read this book and get the details of the production of the first typewriters. This is NOT the purpose of this book!