When 15th-century Venetian cartographer and monk Fra Mauro sets out to create the definitive map of the world from his cell, he finds a yearning for truth, and the project becomes the adventure of a lifetime. "Full of startling leaps of imagination . . . as seaworthy a vessel as a schooner for exploring new worlds".--"Publishers Weekly". 176 pp. National ads. National publicity. Buyer's Choice
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A Mapmaker's Dream: The Meditations of Fra Mauro, Cartographer to the Court of Venice based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
I enjoyed this book very much, but wonder at the author's notes - he says he found the manuscript at the monestary, and that the book is a translation of the original. I hate it when such claim are used to create verisimilitude, but if that is true, it adds an interesting dimension to the story.It is easily verified that Frau Mauro was a cartographer in the period mentioned, but not so easy to verify the manuscript claimed by the author.
I find it difficult to describe this quirky little novel. It essentially has no plot although you could argue that there is some character development as the one recurring character, Fra Mauro, seems to grow and develop as he processes the information that is brought to him. The sub-title is "The Meditations of Fra Mauro, cartographer to the Court of Venice." The basis of the story is that Fr Mauro lives in a cloistered monastery on an island near Venice and he wants to draw a completely accurate map of the world including not just the boundaries and geographic features of the lands but also all the inhabitants, creatures, culture-in short, everything about each country. Since he cannot and does not wish to leave his sanctuary travelers of all sorts come to him and describe what they have gleaned from their voyages. Each chapter is the story a traveler tells and Fra Mauro's impressions about what he has heard. At first I found the book rather irritating-a mishmash of unrelated and often seemingly outlandish ideas. I found, however, if I slowed down and read only one or two chapters at a time and tried to put myself into the time period of Fra Mauro-very early explorations and the making of the trade routes-that this was really fascinating. Some stories were fantastic-but don't travelers often have fantastic ideas when they see strange things? Some resonated with me as ways in which I sometimes perceive the world. Fra Mauro tried to keep an open mind when receiving all these ideas and images-and I did, too. One of the thoughts that occurred to me is that in today's information age we often feel bombarded with more ideas and images that we can process-much as Mauro must have felt. We, too, are surrounded with a myriad of ideas and world views that need to be considered. This is a book to expand your mind and to consider other ways of viewing the world-there is enough variety in these approximately 150 pages that every reader should find as least one idea that gives you that "aha!" moment. There is also enough to disagree with that this would make a good discussion book-as long as your group can vehemently disagree about ideas without getting personal or having it affect your relationships. Caveat: if you prefer to read only ideas that support your own world view this is not the book for you. If you enjoy expanding your mind to consider ideas foreign to you without feeling threatened by them, this is a delightful book-just take it in small doses.