The Blind Contessa's New Machine: A Novel

The Blind Contessa's New Machine: A Novel

by Carey Wallace
3.6 13

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The Blind Contessa's New Machine 3.6 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 14 reviews.
Anna-Marie More than 1 year ago
I loved this book and hated it all at the same time. It is a beautiful confession written in such a way that that you feel as if you are watching the whole story through a snow globe. That distance combined with Wallace's wonderful way with words give this slim volume the enchantment of a fairy tale. There is a surreal feel to the characters that could only exist in such story, at once beloved but unattainable. The Blind Contessa's New Machine is the story of a young woman who is going blind. The novel pays meticulous attention to what she can and can not see painting for the reader lavish and sometime fanciful watercolors of words as the Contessa moves about both in the waking world and that of her dreams. There is only one soul who seems to understand her - his is a long time friend and fellow dreamer a few years her senior. They both seem to have an easy acceptance of the others eccentricities, and would seem a match except that he is married and she is about to be. I finished this novel with a notebook full of quotes that had to added to my collection and a general dissatisfy feeling as I wanted this to be the fairy tale I'd felt it was in my mind and instead I got the mundane world ending that I suppose was enviable. I am far too much a romantic dreamer myself to be able to easily reconcile this things in my mind. I believe the author herself provided a quote that captures a bit of the feeling I had when I turned the last page. "She found herself wishing for the Pietro her heart had constructed over the previous years: sure-footed, understanding, and fearless, to come rescue her from Pietro himself as he rambled on at her side. The wish made her dizzy." P 47
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The story is so original--and even magical in its heavy use of scenery and emotion to convey how imagination can trump reality--that I was very disappointed in the ending. That's the reason I can't rate it 5 stars; the ending was abrupt and the epilogue didn't compensate for that flaw as it should have. Regardless, I really enjoyed living in Carolina's world while reading the story, and the author must be skilled when a reader can easily and happily transport him/herself into the novel. So, I highly recommend this book. It's an original read, despite an unsatisfying ending.
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nyauthoress More than 1 year ago
Carolina, a newly engaged woman surrounded by the beauty of a 19th century Italian villa, revels in her daydreams until she realizes she is going blind. Her family worries if their villa's shady garden can sustain a grove of lemon trees while Carolina observes rather than fears her encroaching blindness. Ironically, Carey Wallace's evocative prose is awash with images that invite the eye to retrace many a sentence. The author then masterfully invites us into the world of the sightless with descriptions of the other senses spilling over each page. "The woods chatter." "The insect's strong body beat against her eyelids." "Sugar. She lifted her finger from her tongue." Under Wallace's pen, Carolina experiences the world so clearly, we are stunned to discover that she needs a writing machine. I need not comment about the love story in the plot as other reviewers have. Frankly, plot was quite secondary in this reader's mind to the perception of how well Carolina lived in her dark world. When her other senses do not give her enough, she wills her dreams to take her to places where she can envision what she loves. This extraordinary debut novel moved me with its insight and eloquence. I disagree with the review that cited blindness as being the central idea in the book. I found the novel remarkably illuminating and an absolute delight to read.
Frisbeesage More than 1 year ago
The Blind Contessa's New Machine - What a clumsy title for a lovely little book! This is the story of Carolina Fantoni, a young contessa, adventurous and independent, who goes blind. No one of her acquaintance knows how to treat her once she goes blind so she becomes totally isolated and trapped in her own home. An intelligent and resourceful woman she learns to travel and fly in her dreams. Then a childhood friend, Turri, an eccentric inventor builds her a typewriter to help her reconnect with the world. The invention of the typewriter has unforeseen consequences and both their lives are changed. To begin with the plot of this book is interesting and unusual and the author makes good use of it. She explores what it must have been like to be so afflicted in a time were was no awareness of the blind and how to help them. Carolina's utter isolation and how she, and the people around her, handle it were fascinating topics to consider. However, what really makes this book is the gorgeous, poetic writing. The details are all written in with an artist's touch until I could clearly see with all my senses. Carolina's lake, in particular, feels like a real place that I could visit anytime. The dust jacket calls this "an iridescent jewel of a novel" and I couldn't agree more!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
DebsSweet More than 1 year ago
Such an interesting book - it pulls you in so that you can 'see' what Carolina sees (or later, doesn't see). No wasted words, not extensive descriptions to attempt to lengthen the book. Just a well written and interesting story of a young lady who is going blind.
bridget3420 More than 1 year ago
Carolina's eyesight is growing dim. Neither her husband-to-be nor her parents acknowledge this fact, but Carolina has found a way to accept what has happened. When her sight is completely gone, she escapes the real world into a land of endless possibilities. She says goodbye to real life and enters a world where she can fly free. The only person who is truly there for Carolina is Turri. When he constructs the first typewriter, for her, they tumble into a passionate love affair. I fell in love with this book! Turri is the kind of guy every girl wants - one that will do anything for her because he wants to, not because it's expected of him. I would say that this book rivals The Notebook. Romance fans everywhere will happily jump into Carolina's shoes because she may not be able to see the outside world, but she can see love in a way that most people never do.