A visual and literary feast for romantics everywhere. "A full-color picture book for adults that tells a wrenching story of eternal love."--NPR Books
"To truly love another, you must follow the lover's path wherever it may take you . . . ."
Filamena Ziani is the much younger sister of the most famous courtesan in sixteenth-century Venice, Tullia Ziani. Orphaned as an infant, Filamena has come of age bent like a branch to her sister's will, sheltered and lonely in the elegant but stifling confines of their palazzo by the sea. Then a dark-haired stranger offers a gift that will change the course of her life forever: a single ripe plum, and an invitation to walk along the lover's path, wherever it may lead.
THE LOVER'S PATH, a moving tale of forbidden love, is a heart-wrenching story of eternal love and transformation. Through a unique combination of lyrical text, sumptuous illustrations, and retellings of famed love stories, Filamena's path is beautifully described and, finally, stunningly revealed.
Praised by The New York Times Book Review for her "quality of myth and magic," Waldherr brings to life a remarkable period in Venetian history. Her glorious celebration of romance, the feminine spirit, and the power of love to inspire will move readers everywhere.
46 illustrations. 144 pages.
Chapter 1: Grace
The tale of the lover's path begins as the story of two sisters, alike as doves in appearance, but different as water and wine in temperament and experience.
At that time, I was only a girl of sixteen. For as long as I could remember, my sister Tullia and I lived in a palazzo set in Venice, a labyrinth of a city where we heard the sea murmur its music day and night. This palazzo was furnished by my sister through her extraordinary talents and beauty. It glittered with golden mosaics, and was graced with sumptuous paintings and intricate tapestries. And it was there in this palazzo that I bent to my sister's rule, a sapling recognizing the sun's sovereignty.
As I write of Tullia, I will try not to be harsh. I know many have called her a mysterious beauty, cool in the use of her considerable intelligence and allure. Nonetheless, I hope time has bestowed upon me a measure of wisdom as I remind myself of her unavoidable influence upon me. After all, Tullia was my first vision in this life. My earliest memory is of her bending over to soothe me as I sobbed the inconsolable tears of childhood, her blonde hair a dazzle of light around a divinity. Unlike most children, my first word was not madre or padre. It was sister, in honor of Tullia, for our parents had drowned a year after my birth, leaving my sister as the elder of us to raise and provide for me.
Despite her reputation as the most illustrious courtesan in Venice, Tullia shielded my eyes from the carnal nature of love; I saw little that would make a nun blush. But she educated me in other ways, teaching me to read and write in Italian and Latin, a priceless gift bestowed upon few women, for which I am forever grateful. She also tutored me in the art of music, for which I quickly showed love and aptitude....
If it was because of my sister that I had an active mind, a voice to sing, food to eat, and a roof over my head, it was also because of my sister I was made to stay inside my home after I turned twelve.
Noting that I was of an age where men might approach me because of her profession, Tullia did not allow me to leave the palazzo unless I was dressed plainly and accompanied by an elder servant. These occasions arose less and less frequently as time passed. No matter how much I begged for freedom, Tullia ignored my pleas. She would explain to me in patient tones that my isolation was necessary. It was her hope that, in time, people would see me as a gentlewoman separate from her, rather than as the sister of a courtesan. This was small consolation, for the loneliness that colored my hours felt unending. At sixteen, I was of an age when most young women had already married and borne children, or entered a convent to do God's work. For myself there was nothing--only an abstract promise that might be fulfilled in the future if my sister willed it so.
Now as I look back, I think Tullia truly wished our fiaba of two sisters to remain as it was forever--to divert time like water from its path. But this, of course, was impossible. To preserve my innocence, a courtesan such as my sister would have had to layer restriction upon restriction as if they were blankets upon a winter bed. While she may have thought she was protecting me from the bitter cold, she only made the snow outside my window look all the more enticing.
I began to think of escape.
|Publisher:||Art and Words Editions|
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