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Mapmaker's Opera

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Inspired by the magnificent images in John James Audubon's Birds of America, Diego Clemente dreams of journeying to the New World to see such creatures for himself and gets his chance when his joins American naturalist Edward Nelson to create a guide to the birds of the Yucatan, in a turbulent Mexico on the eve of revolution. Inspired by the magnificent images in John James Audubon's Birds of America, Diego Clemente dreams of journeying to the New World to see such creatures for himself and gets his chance when his joins American naturalist Edward Nelson to create a guide to the birds of the Yucatan, in a turbulent Mexico on the eve of revolution.


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Inspired by the magnificent images in John James Audubon's Birds of America, Diego Clemente dreams of journeying to the New World to see such creatures for himself and gets his chance when his joins American naturalist Edward Nelson to create a guide to the birds of the Yucatan, in a turbulent Mexico on the eve of revolution. Inspired by the magnificent images in John James Audubon's Birds of America, Diego Clemente dreams of journeying to the New World to see such creatures for himself and gets his chance when his joins American naturalist Edward Nelson to create a guide to the birds of the Yucatan, in a turbulent Mexico on the eve of revolution.

30 review for Mapmaker's Opera

  1. 4 out of 5

    Tea Jovanović

    Kanađanska španskog porekla, predivna autorka i topla i šarmantna osoba svojim stilom pisanja podseća na Izabelu Aljende... Imala sam priliku da je upoznam davne 2005. na sajmu u Toronto i da se malo družimo... Jedino mi je žao što nema više napisanih ovako predivnih romana i što nisam uspela da je dovedem u Beograd pa je i njeni čitaoci upoznaju... Pravi, živahan, i španski srdačan duh... :)

  2. 5 out of 5

    Juliet Wilson

    This is a wonderful book, set in early 20th century Mexico, combining history and biology, opera and a sense of justice. Sofia is a young woman fascinated by the natural world who manages to persuade her father to let her work with two scientists as they put together a bird book for the area. The scientists are also fascinated by the captive passenger pigeons held by the wealthiest man in the area. Meanwhile revolution is brewing around them all..... It's a beautiful book and one that will make m This is a wonderful book, set in early 20th century Mexico, combining history and biology, opera and a sense of justice. Sofia is a young woman fascinated by the natural world who manages to persuade her father to let her work with two scientists as they put together a bird book for the area. The scientists are also fascinated by the captive passenger pigeons held by the wealthiest man in the area. Meanwhile revolution is brewing around them all..... It's a beautiful book and one that will make many people cry.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Lesley

    Really a 3.5 This book is well written. It introduces and ties the characters together with stage lefts and backstage insides without over-doing it. You want to know how the marks got on Abuela's map and it propels you through the book, but like any opera there is love and trajedy and the end leaves you wishing things were different. Overall-a good story with a wide variety of characters. Really a 3.5 This book is well written. It introduces and ties the characters together with stage lefts and backstage insides without over-doing it. You want to know how the marks got on Abuela's map and it propels you through the book, but like any opera there is love and trajedy and the end leaves you wishing things were different. Overall-a good story with a wide variety of characters.

  4. 5 out of 5

    krin

    This was a beautifully told story about birds, love and people on the eve of revolution. I liked the opera theme throughout as characters entered the scene from stage right or left.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Peggy

    Bea Gonzalez has created a lyrical historical novel by using an operatic structure to reveal the story of a Spanish immigrant finding his life's work among the birds of the Yucatan Peninsula. Long enthralled by the work of James Audubon, Diego Clemente finds work with an American naturalist working to catalog the birds of the Yucatan. Gonzalez provides rich historical detail about the henequen plantations and the social injustices of the colonial system. As Diego catalogs and draws birds, he fal Bea Gonzalez has created a lyrical historical novel by using an operatic structure to reveal the story of a Spanish immigrant finding his life's work among the birds of the Yucatan Peninsula. Long enthralled by the work of James Audubon, Diego Clemente finds work with an American naturalist working to catalog the birds of the Yucatan. Gonzalez provides rich historical detail about the henequen plantations and the social injustices of the colonial system. As Diego catalogs and draws birds, he falls in love with a local landowner's daughter who is trying diligently to dissuade another suitor. Caste and gender constraints are an essential part of the novel, but read this to soak up the history and the beautiful writing.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Amisha Miller

    Brought Spain and Yucatan to life I read this whole travelling through the Yucatan and loved the way I could relate to parts of the setting. It's also an enjoyable love story told in an original way. I recommend Brought Spain and Yucatan to life I read this whole travelling through the Yucatan and loved the way I could relate to parts of the setting. It's also an enjoyable love story told in an original way. I recommend

  7. 5 out of 5

    Mag

    Very good storytelling, but there were a couple of points I didn’t find satisfactory or plausible. 3.5

  8. 5 out of 5

    Kathleen McRae

    This story was nicely written and interesting but slightly repetitive at times

  9. 5 out of 5

    Lauren

    I couldn't finish this one. There was more flowery language than plot and after 30 pages where almost nothing had happened, I decided to give up. I couldn't finish this one. There was more flowery language than plot and after 30 pages where almost nothing had happened, I decided to give up.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Martin Harrison-Putnam

    A perfect paradise worth exploring.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Kayla West

    This has to be one of the most exquisite stories I have ever read in my life. It also has to be one of the most unique tellings of a story that I have ever read. You see, the reason for this is because it is an opera. The main characters that are mentioned by name in the story are, ultimately, the singers in this written production. They are mentioned beforehand in a list of their respective titles and roles, along with the tone of voice they sing. We have our lead soprano, Sofia Duarte, and our This has to be one of the most exquisite stories I have ever read in my life. It also has to be one of the most unique tellings of a story that I have ever read. You see, the reason for this is because it is an opera. The main characters that are mentioned by name in the story are, ultimately, the singers in this written production. They are mentioned beforehand in a list of their respective titles and roles, along with the tone of voice they sing. We have our lead soprano, Sofia Duarte, and our lead tenor, Diego Clemente, along with other mixed, but just as prominent, voices scattered about the pages of this book. But the characters are only one part of the whole that is The Mapmaker's Opera. The part that makes this story real, and, ultimately, brings the characters to life, is the historical significance involved. This is the telling of a revolt. The telling of social differences, and how those differences affected the lives of the author's characters. The telling of the beginning of the fight that became the Mexican Revolution. Even though the revolt and fight for freedom was mentioned only near the end, the feelings of animosity between the upper and lower classes is riddled throughout the story. Diego Clemente's own mother was sent from her cousin's home in disgrace because of her condition and lower social standing, and Diego himself was turned away by his biological father when he came, on his mother's request, to claim his rightful title. I was amazed when reading this book, because of the beauty in it. The sights and smells brought to life all the way from Spain to Mexico to the untold past. It was a breathtaking experience. One that took me on the wings of the worlds most beautiful species, birds, and flew me to lands so familiar in name to me but never given true description until now. This is an opera to see. An opera to experience for yourselves. But delve in its pages gently, for it could sweep you up as quickly in its wonder, its magic, as it did me.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Megan

    I'm not quite sure what to say about this book. Whenever I picked it up, I was utterly swept away into the story. I wasn't always the biggest fan of all the characters, but it was in the way that you don't always like everyone you meet--sometimes people are jerks. I really liked the setting, too. I'm not very familiar with this era in history, but really got into it with the details the author provided. But whenever I put it down again, I saw the cracks in the book. The story might have been enga I'm not quite sure what to say about this book. Whenever I picked it up, I was utterly swept away into the story. I wasn't always the biggest fan of all the characters, but it was in the way that you don't always like everyone you meet--sometimes people are jerks. I really liked the setting, too. I'm not very familiar with this era in history, but really got into it with the details the author provided. But whenever I put it down again, I saw the cracks in the book. The story might have been engaging, but it was also disjointed. I'm not sure the framing device (Abuela's story, the operatic scenes and acts) were that effective at all. Overall, I'm still giving it four stars since I think loving it while reading it trumps the mild disappointment I had afterwards

  13. 5 out of 5

    Katy

    An interesting, involving book. The novel follows the framework of an opera (acts, scenes) and has a (semi-tragic) plot that one could certainly envision as that of an opera. I read the book slowly (unusual for me), but I enjoyed the reading of it so much I didn't want to rush through. The book follows the life of Diego, a bird enthusiast (among other things), who travels from Spain to Mexico to start a new life and assist with the research, illustration, and writing of a book on local birdlife. An interesting, involving book. The novel follows the framework of an opera (acts, scenes) and has a (semi-tragic) plot that one could certainly envision as that of an opera. I read the book slowly (unusual for me), but I enjoyed the reading of it so much I didn't want to rush through. The book follows the life of Diego, a bird enthusiast (among other things), who travels from Spain to Mexico to start a new life and assist with the research, illustration, and writing of a book on local birdlife. The book presents rich, sympathetic portrayals of those Diego comes into contact with.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Darshan Elena

    I need need need to visit Sevilla. At the moment, I am engaged in endless hours of travel porn, which entails reading about Sevilla, its architecture, people, music, food. Tonight, I will be making a saffron-infused stew. Oh, the book is quite fine too. Its descriptions of Sevilla, Merida, and the interiors of home and the mind are luscious. That said, if you don't like flowery writing, stay away. This book is poetic, romantic, fantastic if you care for such styles. I need need need to visit Sevilla. At the moment, I am engaged in endless hours of travel porn, which entails reading about Sevilla, its architecture, people, music, food. Tonight, I will be making a saffron-infused stew. Oh, the book is quite fine too. Its descriptions of Sevilla, Merida, and the interiors of home and the mind are luscious. That said, if you don't like flowery writing, stay away. This book is poetic, romantic, fantastic if you care for such styles.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Vivienne

    This was a very lyrical novel set in early 20th century Seville and Mexico. I wasn't quite sure it really deserved being classed as 'magical realism' despite the operatic theme. I suspect that publisher's tend to place a book in this genre if it is set in Central/South America. Still this was a delightful read, very poignant in terms of its central love story and a reminder how timeless a tale of star-crossed lovers can be. This was a very lyrical novel set in early 20th century Seville and Mexico. I wasn't quite sure it really deserved being classed as 'magical realism' despite the operatic theme. I suspect that publisher's tend to place a book in this genre if it is set in Central/South America. Still this was a delightful read, very poignant in terms of its central love story and a reminder how timeless a tale of star-crossed lovers can be.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Michael

    A charming story about a boy who grows up in Seville the son of a kindly bookseller and a bitter disappointed mother. He then moves to the Yucatan to study and paint birds and fall in love with the beautiful Sophia. It is also the story of Sophia's efforts to avoid the constricting role her station and gender have assigned her. A well written and engaging book, though both the mapmaking and the opera are merely devices and have very little to do with the actual plot. A charming story about a boy who grows up in Seville the son of a kindly bookseller and a bitter disappointed mother. He then moves to the Yucatan to study and paint birds and fall in love with the beautiful Sophia. It is also the story of Sophia's efforts to avoid the constricting role her station and gender have assigned her. A well written and engaging book, though both the mapmaking and the opera are merely devices and have very little to do with the actual plot.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Barbara

    I bought the book because I knew it was partly about Merida, Mexico, where I spent some time last year. I didn't know that the book starts in Seville, Spain and spans several centuries. It's a lovely "opera," covering the usual subject of love, but also the role that class plays in culture, and the role of women. If you want to know about eh conquistadors, about birds, about people who love books and more, this bookk has it all. I bought the book because I knew it was partly about Merida, Mexico, where I spent some time last year. I didn't know that the book starts in Seville, Spain and spans several centuries. It's a lovely "opera," covering the usual subject of love, but also the role that class plays in culture, and the role of women. If you want to know about eh conquistadors, about birds, about people who love books and more, this bookk has it all.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Ferris

    I found this choppy, poorly written book to be a disappointment. The only redeeming feature was the historical information about Mexico, specifically the Yucatan. Details of the hemp industry, the naturalist Edward Nelson, and the beginnings of the Mexican Revolution are what kept me reading to the end.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Nicholas Graham

    Described as an opera might be, the story starts in Seville and moves to Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula. The protagonist is very likeable and the elements of history, environmental and social issues, and romance are very well woven. The novel is being made into a musical theatre production: http://mapmakersopera.com/Content/wel...# Described as an opera might be, the story starts in Seville and moves to Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula. The protagonist is very likeable and the elements of history, environmental and social issues, and romance are very well woven. The novel is being made into a musical theatre production: http://mapmakersopera.com/Content/wel...#

  20. 4 out of 5

    Andrea LeClair

    Came upstairs on the New Books truck and I grabbed it based only on the book jacket's description of the protagonist who finds solace in Audubon's Birds of America and the mention of passenger pigeons. A main-character, a book, and birds that are also a metaphor: a tempting formula. Came upstairs on the New Books truck and I grabbed it based only on the book jacket's description of the protagonist who finds solace in Audubon's Birds of America and the mention of passenger pigeons. A main-character, a book, and birds that are also a metaphor: a tempting formula.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Cindy

    This was the last I read of the books I bought for my Yucatan trip last Christmas. I loved it and was sorry it ended. It reads like someone is telling you a great story. It starts in Seville, a place I love, and ends in the Yucatan. Perfect for me. It kind of reads like a TV drama, but set an exotic place and distant time.

  22. 5 out of 5

    MEGAN C

    Just lovely. Lovely and lovely all the way through.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Renee

    I couldn't finish it. It did not keep me interested past the first 50 pages. I couldn't finish it. It did not keep me interested past the first 50 pages.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Marcella Starck

    This was a beautifully written book--I was completely swept away in the love story, drama, tragedy. Add in there some amazing nature and it was wonderful!

  25. 4 out of 5

    Alicia

  26. 5 out of 5

    Sandra

  27. 4 out of 5

    seanat (elka)

  28. 4 out of 5

    Jacqueline Smit

  29. 5 out of 5

    Helen

  30. 4 out of 5

    Carol

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