Nectar

Nectar

4.5 4
by Lily Prior
     
 

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Ramona Drottoveo, an albino, is a chambermaid at a lush Italian estate. Distinguished by the intoxicating scent she exudes, Ramona is despised by all women and adored by all men, whose inexhaustible lust she eagerly satisfies. Life changes when her husband dies after discovering his bride with another man on their wedding night. Blamed for his death, Ramona and her

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Overview

Ramona Drottoveo, an albino, is a chambermaid at a lush Italian estate. Distinguished by the intoxicating scent she exudes, Ramona is despised by all women and adored by all men, whose inexhaustible lust she eagerly satisfies. Life changes when her husband dies after discovering his bride with another man on their wedding night. Blamed for his death, Ramona and her lover are exiled to the neighboring city of Naples. There, Ramona's life is transformed once again by the birth of a daughter, Blandina, who "steals" her mother's scent. No longer able to seduce men into blind submission, Ramona humbly returns to the estate to an unexpected welcome — and revenge.

A hilarious and naughty celebration of the senses and the strange places they can lead us, Nectar explores the mystery of sexual attraction and the frivolous nature of divine justice.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
To visualize Prior's rambunctious novel, imagine a grand, erotic opera buffa, bursting with outsized passion and populated by 99 fancifully named and generally grotesque characters, including a disappearing corpse and his vengeful ghost, a love-starved humpback and the protagonist, a femme fatale in every sense of the word. The temptress is fat, albino Ramona Drottoveo, whose repulsive appearance (her skin is a violent shade of pink, as are her piggy eyes) is no deterrent to the tumescent reaction of any man who gets close enough to inhale the maddening sexual aroma she exudes. Vain, selfish and monumentally stupid, Ramona takes great delight in the hordes of aroused men she attracts. The elderly Signor of la Casa, where she works as a chambermaid, regularly has his way with her, but Ramona decides to marry the lowly beekeeper on the estate so she can quit her job and loaf. The day after her wedding, however, she is surprised with the beekeeper's new assistant, Rinaldo Buffi, a veritable Adonis, inspiring her cuckolded husband to commit suicide. Cast out from la Casa, Ramona and Rinaldo go to Naples, where further adventures await the seductive antiheroine. Prior (La Cucina) propels this larky but dark tale with sensuous descriptions of opulent banquets, hurly-burly street scenes, horrendous natural disasters and providential encounters. Yet the narrative seems less constructed than jerry-built; whenever the plot drives into a corner, magical intervention occurs. Despite its farcical tone, this Technicolor fairy tale is based on the lowest and most venal aspects of human nature, and one may tire of Ramona long before she gets her well-deserved comeuppance. Agent, Jean Naggar. (June) FYI: Nectar is a popular title this season; David Fickett's novel of the same name will be issued by Forge (Forecasts, Feb. 18). Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
After the gloppy novel-cum-cookbook La Cucina (2000), British author Prior continues to mine hackneyed peasant lore in a fairy tale about an unlovely albino servant girl with a peculiar, alluring odor-but also with vanity that eventually dooms her. Ramona Drottoveo is the uppity chambermaid at the sumptuous estate of "la Casa" in the Volturno valley whom the other servants love to hate, while the men follow her licking at her heels. Her scent can make any of them-from the pig-keeper to the estate's master Signor himself-"forget the whole of his past life and seek to reinvent himself." The only one who won't grovel for her favors is the modest beekeeper, whom she honors by allowing him to court and marry her-only to cheat on him with his handsome assistant hours after the wedding. After the beekeeper goes mad and gets stung to death, his spirit proceeds to curse, first, the estate, and then the two lovers, who flee to Naples. Ramona, vain and tone-deaf, fancies herself an opera singer, and although she and her poor new beekeeper husband, Rinaldo Buffi, have no money, she covets new clothes and good food. Alas, ambushes await the country bumpkins, as do plenty of sinister stock characters with florid names, from the selfless hunchback to the lecherous opera director to the superstitious shrine keeper (a multi-page list of characters introduces the book). And as may be expected from a clowning parody of Italian provincialism, there are steaming dishes of food, pentola of costine, and so on. Prior's simple prose undercuts her apparent aim of seducing the reader by means of thickly spread nostalgia, nor may there ever have been a more repulsive lead character than Ramona, or one more deservingof her fate. With violins playing and Chianti flowing, a goofy commedia dell'arte.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780061865923
Publisher:
HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
10/13/2009
Sold by:
HARPERCOLLINS
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
272
Sales rank:
403,937
File size:
0 MB

Meet the Author

Lily Prior is the author of La Cucina, Ardor, and Nectar and she divides her time between London and Italy.

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