Strange Horizons, July 7, 2014
Reviewed by Louis West
“Chopin’s Eye,” by Lara Elena Donnelly, inexorably drew me into the emotional vortex that is Baroness Dudevant’s love for Chopin. Except she doesn’t love Chopin the man, but burns with desire for the creative spirit that changes him every time his musical genius consumes him. She watches for those moments, when his eyes change from hazel to emerald-green, when his body firms and his presence commands adoration, shock and awe. She is convinced “something lives within him, uses him, and she wants it.”
Dudevant, known to the scandalized Parisian public as the novelist George Sand, stalks Chopin, lusting for “when he is less than human and more than prey,” drawing life from him like a succubus. For a time she tries to help him heal his tuberculosis-ravaged body in the belief that it will allow his creative passion to rage more often, drowning her in ecstasy. She has never known a lover like him and pines every moment Chopin is mere mortal. When Chopin finally dies, a bit of her dies too, as she mourns, not the vessel, but the spirit that filled Chopin’s flesh and satiated her like no other ever had.
Powerful, compelling, exceptional. A definite read.