Stone Virgin

( 1 )

Overview

In its romantic and dangerous tour of history, Barry Unsworth's Stone Virgin rivals A. S. Byatt's Possession.
A mysterious sculpture of a beautiful and erotic Madonna holds the key to the Fornarini family's secrets. When Raikes, a conservation expert, tries to restore her, he is swept under the statue's spell and swept under the spell of the seductive Chiara Litsov, a member of the Fornarini family now married to a famous sculptor. Raikes finds...

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Overview

In its romantic and dangerous tour of history, Barry Unsworth's Stone Virgin rivals A. S. Byatt's Possession.
A mysterious sculpture of a beautiful and erotic Madonna holds the key to the Fornarini family's secrets. When Raikes, a conservation expert, tries to restore her, he is swept under the statue's spell and swept under the spell of the seductive Chiara Litsov, a member of the Fornarini family now married to a famous sculptor. Raikes finds himself losing all moral grounding as his love for statue and woman intertwine in lust and murder.

A mysterious sculpture of a beautiful and erotic Madonna holds the key to the Fornarini family's secrets. When Raikes, a conservation expert, tries to restore her, he is swept under the statue's spell--and that of Chiara Litsov, a member of the Fornarini family. Raikes finds himself losing all moral grounding as his love for statue and woman intertwine in lust and murder.

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Editorial Reviews

Amanda Heller - Boston Globe
“No brief synopsis could suggest the sinuous intricacy of Stone Virgin or the adroitness with which Barry Unsworth manipulates the weighty mysteries of love, death, creation, faith, evil and the lure of history.”
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Unsworth's stories of familial secrets and revenge are in paper for the first time. (June)
Library Journal
Simon Raikes is given the task of restor ing a 15th-century sculpture of the Ma donna on a church in Venice. A frustrat ed artist himself, Simon is compelled to solve certain mysteries: Who was the sculptor? Why was the work sup pressed for two centuries? How did it earn consecration? As he begins to painstakingly shear away corrosion, the statue apparently confronts him with vi sions and stirs his passions. His search for answers leads to a local sculptor's wife, with whom Simon falls in love, and eventually to a new mystery. The author handles a variety of narrative voices and the aura of suspense well. By disclosing the lives of those involved with this Madonna at three significant historical times, Unsworth allows sub tle examination into the underlying theme, the attitudes men have toward women. Andrew Peters, Pioneer Multi-Cty. Lib., Norman, Okla.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780393313093
  • Publisher: Norton, W. W. & Company, Inc.
  • Publication date: 6/28/1995
  • Pages: 318
  • Sales rank: 515,815
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.50 (h) x 0.71 (d)

Meet the Author

Barry Unsworth (1930-2012), who won the Booker Prize for Sacred Hunger, was a Booker Prize finalist for Morality Play and was long-listed for the Man Booker Prize for The Ruby in Her Navel.

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Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Posted July 13, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    The nature of sin

    Simon Raikes is restoring an enigmatic stone Madonna that graces the front of a medieval church in Venice. As he prepares his work, he is overtaken by visions, and he soon becomes obsessed with discovering the history of the unusual, subtly erotic statue. Simon's own fate becomes inextricably enmeshed with that of the original sculptor, and he finds himself making choices that would previously been abhorrent to him.

    Stone Virgin is a complex, proficient morality tale that examines the dark underside of desire, whether it be carnality, pride, ambition, or cupidity. Within these pages, the age old adage that history repeats itself plays out in the lives of individuals, rather than on the world stage. How easy it is to succumb to temptation when one's secret heart's desire is within reach.

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