Thursday, November 6, 2014

A Cup of Light

53  A Cup of Light  —by Nicole Mones  

Fiction / Modern
304 pages / 331 KB
5 Stars

This book was my 'Introduction' to Nicole Mones. Or, at least, to her writing. I shall search out her debut novel, Lost in Translation, and others she may have out there. I was thoroughly entranced by this book.

A Cup of Light is not a fast paced book; it is a deliberately woven story. I loved the two main characters, Lia and Michael. I could definitely relate to Lia's deafness, and how she loves to remove her hearing aids to be enveloped in a cocoon of quiet where she can focus on her work, and also visit her memory files. She has trained her memory, since childhood, to file everything away, and when she needs to find a particular memory, either of porcelain or anything else she has filed, she knows just were to find it.

Lia Frank, an American who reads Chinese, but due to her deafness does not speak it well, is a highly gifted appraiser of Chinese porcelains. She is sent to China by her employer with a companion to appraise several antique porcelains. Her companion gets sick en route, and she ends up going alone, without the second set of eyes needed for such a task. Most of the pieces are genuine, some are exquisite forgeries, and she must know the difference.

Mones takes us into the world of porcelain, what makes it so beautiful, so rare, so beloved by emperors and collectors the world over. When Lia goes into her memory files to help her decide which is real, which is fake, we get some absolutely fascinating tidbits of Chinese and porcelain history. When she finds forgeries, even they are good enough, exquisite enough, to almost cause her pain.

This story is a silk tapestry woven from the lives of several people, primarily focusing on Lia. The threads are brought in when needed, and by the end of the book, the tapestry is finished, beautiful, and worthy to grace A Cup of Light.

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