A beautiful story

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emmacathryne Avatar


I found this story to be absolutely mesmerizing. It is saturated by music and color and light in the form of Lu's gorgeous prose, painting a stunning picture of a place where the Kingdom of Nannerl's dreams and the opulence of Renaissance Europe blend together like wet paint. Even more so than the lush world, I was compelled by Nannerl's fervent desire to be known and seen. Above all, she seeks to leave an inedible mark on the world in the form of her music, to be immortalized by her art long after she is gone. Unfortunately, being a women, she is overshadowed by her brother, and torn between her love for him and her jealousy of his renown. I felt her pain keenly--as a scientist and researcher I understand the need to create something the withstands the tests of time and provides a beacon to future generations. The idea that my gender could hold me back from such a feat is unthinkable.

This story manages to be both painfully real and effortlessly sublime. The whole novel reads like the twilight between sleeping and waking as Nannerl straddles the boundary between two different worlds--the physical boundary of reality versus the kingdom, as well as the metaphorical boundaries of duty and desire, childhood and adulthood, love and fear. It is about the pain of growing up and leaving the idealism of childhood behind, about the ephemeral beauty of childhood sibling relationships, and also a meditation of immortality and what it truly means to leave a mark.