Book reviews are subjective. I tend to rate books not according to how “perfect” they are, seem to be, or are said to be in general but rather to how perfect they are to me.
*Be advised that this review contains spoilers, of sorts.*
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
(Click the title to find the book description/blurb.)
I read this book before and thoroughly loved it. The art, the pleasure and pain, the romance, the human imperfections, the redemption—all of it left such a moving impression on me. It was my first time reading a novel with the refreshing essence of the performing arts in it, like in The Small Rain and A Severed Wasp. The copy of A Touching Performance I read was a part of New York, a collection of novels, so it didn’t have the book cover featured with this review, which I don’t feel does the verve of the story justice, especially where Nick is concerned, as he has an edgier style vital to his situation as a character. The rather conservative-looking man pictured on the front misses much of the point of depicting Nick at all.
Then, rereading the book years later, I still enjoyed it but was affected a little differently by some of the characters. I wondered if, in this age, people can really be quite so obtuse over others’ disabilities. And why was Claire so grossed out by Nick’s prostheses? Well, let’s chalk those details up to imperfect humanity.
On another note, Claire’s “conversion” in Europe is a bit weird. The story seems to imply in the beginning that she is a Christian, albeit with a lagging prayer life, but after Europe, she’s “a new Christian.” Does this mean she wasn’t one at all before? And the prayer that changes her is strange: she starts out talking to Nick (who is nowhere present, except in her heart), and after the prayer, she feels a greater bond to Nick, from overseas—and a bond to God too, by the way. In this spiritual moment, where is Claire’s focus? Is this more of a new Christianity or a new Nickianity? The line there is blurred.
All in all, though, I still think it is indeed a “touching” story with too much beauty in the experience of reading it not to include it in my list of Favorite Reads.