Arthur Japin was born in Haarlem in 1956. He studied theater in Amsterdam and London and spent many years acting on stage, screen, and television. His first novel, The Two Hearts of Kwasi Boachi, appeared in thirteen languages and is now being made into an opera and a film. He lives in Utrecht.Arthur Japin's The Two Hearts of Kwasi Boachi is available in Vintage paperback.
Set in the mid-18th century, Dutch author Japin's elegant second novel (after The Two Hearts of Kwasi Boachi) richly imagines the plight of Casanova's first youthful heartbreak. Lucia is 14 and a servant girl in a noble house in Pasiano, Italy, when she first meets the young seminarian visitor Giacomo Casanova, who is as virginal as she. They fall into a frolicsome love affair until Lucia contracts the dreaded smallpox. Horribly disfigured from the disease, she concocts a story to turn Giacomo away and flees her home to embrace adventures across Europe, in turn working as a servant, a secretary to an enlightened woman philosopher, and a prostitute, who "learned to accept what other women found intolerable." Years later, having reinvented herself as Galathee, a well-heeled madam in Amsterdam, she finds a mysterious liberation in the use of a veil to attract her clients and meets Casanova again, now the practiced seducer le Chevalier de Seingalt. Their mature affair is conducted in the form of a cynical wager, and they dance rhetorically around the tender feelings of their youth. Despite the awkward conceit of the prostitute's veil and the sometimes stilted language of this translation, Japin has incorporated Casanova's Story of My Life to beguiling effect. (Nov.) Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
"Enthralling . . . Packed with the color of 18th-century life . . . A complex examination of thwarted love . . . A marvelous reversal of hunter and prey, with a soupcon of Dangerous Liaisons . . . Lucia's slightly arch voice throbs with as much searching intelligence as sexual passion . . . What makes In Lucia's Eyes so fascinating is its melding of disparate veins: It's a painful story that arrives at profound insights about the nature of love, but it's spiked with bodice-ripper suspense and humor; it's an intensely private testimony of one woman's peculiar survival, but it's laced with a fascinating survey of 18th-century intellectual history. Brace yourself with all the skepticism you want, you'll still be seduced."-Ron Charles, Washington Post Book World"An irrisistible subject . . . Lucia is a prostitute with a 24-karat intellect. By the end of a novel that consistently pits reason against emotion, she has found the means to satisfy each."-Kathryn Harrison, New York Times Book Review"Japin has done his historical homework . . . A mesmerizing look into a Europe of long ago."-Condï¿½ Nast Traveler"A dark intrigue . . . Vivid . . . Startlingly poignant . . . unfolding in intricately plotted flashbacks and divan-rattling love scenes . . . Through Lucia, we're able to discern firsthand the secrets of Casanova's success."-Megan O'Grady, Vogue"Inspired by a character in Giacomo Casanova's History of My Life-a once beautiful girl disfigured by small pox whom the great seducer meets again in the brothels of Amsterdam-Arthur Japin spins an enthralling tale on the mystery of first love and its endurance in the face of a lifetime of hardships."-Andrea Di Robilant, author of A Venetian Affair"To see the world through Lucia's eyes is to see it in the fullness of wonders and dangers most never notice."-Paulo Coelho, author of The Alchemist