ARDOR by Lily Prior


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Another precious little fable, this about lust, from the author of Nectar (2002) and La Cucina (2000).

Lo! Spring has come to a little village in Italy, and sweet desire stirs souls of men and beasts. Even arachnids get in on the action: “The spiders in their spangled webs yearned for love and spun sonnets of a fragile and unbearable beauty, glazed with tears of dew.” The voice of the turtle is heard in the land (see below) and love seeds itself in the dark, moist, yielding earth. There are themes, like Longing and Fulfillment. Behold! Even a lowly olive transcends its twig to be worshipped by its grower, Arcadio Carnabuci, who cuts into one, relishing its smell of “vanilla, champagne, longing, marzipan, peaches, smiles, cream, strawberries, roses, melting chocolate, lilac, figs, laughter, honeysuckles, kisses, lilies, enchantment, ardor itself.” Should Arcadio sit around and smell his olives, or should he pursue an amorous liaison with Fernanda Ponderosa? Her magnificent bosom and charming eccentricities are the stuff of yet more legends—her cast-iron bathtub, which sank beneath the uncaring sea, and her traveling menagerie. Heed, oh reader, the sad plight of Oscar, a soulful monkey, and Olga, a highly fertile turtle, the mother of seven coin-sized offspring. The whimsy never lets up—why, even the seven baby turtles have adorable names of their very own! But surely the amphibious charms of little Evangelista, Carla, Deborah, Cressida, Dafne, Manon, and Lilla will not steal the show from the multitude of colorful villagers! It’s a good thing there’s also a long list of character names. In fact, there are many lists, mostly of vaguely sensual words and phrases that fall trippingly from the tongue.

But a plot? No, there’s nothing so mundane as that.


Pub Date: July 13th, 2004
ISBN: 0-06-052786-2
Page count: 224pp
Publisher: Ecco/HarperCollins
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15th, 2004


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