black venus by james macmanus

Written by Darlyn Azlinda At Monday, May 06, 2013
Title: Black Venus
Author: James MacManus
Pages: 368
Rating: 3.5/5
Book Description:
Addictive as opium the voluptuous Haitian cabaret singer Jeanne Duval tortured and inspired Charles Baudelaire to create poetry that would forever change the world of literature. Their love played out against the backdrop of 19th-century Paris in the Left Bank cafes and taverns frequented by such giants as Édouard Manet, HonorĂ© de Balzac and Alexandre Dumas.  Reviled by Baudelaire’s family, friends and publisher, Duval was Baudelaire’s muse, leading him to create the poetry whose dark and passionate imagery forever changed and influenced modern literature.

Baudelaire was squandering his small fortune on alcohol and women when he met Duval, who he called Black Venus and claimed as his mistress. Their fiery relationship became the catalyst for his work—without her he couldn’t write a word. Ironically, Duval scorned Les Fleurs de Mal—The Flowers of Evil—the slim volume of poems she inspired that outraged French morals causing Baudelaire and his publisher to be forced into a scandalous public trial for obscenity.  What hold did she have on him that he allowed her to betray him in every possible way, driving him into debt and opium addiction even as she openly slept with his friends?

My Say:
The book is totally a jurney that I thought it would never end. So much depth in it. I was facing a quite hard time to finish the book. It started quite boring at first and slowly blooming into something I love to be in. I love the Paris setting in it. The story brought me to many lovely places that I wish I would be. Paris is just lovely and I think it's a good place for some romance story to take place. Relationship between Charles and Jean for me, is so complex. The storyline is more than just about a person, its about how the character lived and move on. Charles went through so many hardships and scandalous moments. There were times I felt the book is so flat and there's so many details like been dragged too much. Nevertheless, I love reading a new thing like a historical romance/story.

About the Author

James MacManus, who was born in London, began his career with The Guardian first as a reporter in the London office and then as a foreign correspondent in France, Africa and the Middle East. Following a position on the diplomatic staff of the Daily Telegraph in London, he joined The Times, eventually rising to Managing Editor then Managing Director of The Times Literary Supplement. In 2006 his first screenplay became the major motion picture, The Children of Huang Shi, and in 2010 his critically acclaimed first novel, Language of the Sea, made its debut.


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