“The Body,” Adriaen Adrianenzoon, also known as Aris Kindt. The executed criminal whose corpse will be dissected.
“The Hands,” Dr. Nicholas Tulp, a prominent Amsterdam physician conducting autopsy.
“The Heart,” Flora, who carries Aris’ unborn child and tries to save him, or at least claim his body for burial.
“The Mouth,” Jan Fetchet, a curio dealer and famulus anatomicus who provides the body to Dr. Tulp.
“The Mind,” Rene Descartes, distinguished philosopher.
“The Eyes,” those of Rembrandt who composes the painting while also hiding a secret.
Pia, art restoration expert discovers a mystery while restoring the painting, 500 years after its commission.
Siegal masters a poignant narrative with intricate themes braided. A delicate and affecting love story, a narrative posing a question of ethics both medical and social as varying characters search for soul within a body, along with loss and atonement.
Well researched as Siegal depicts 17th Century Amsterdam, practice of science complete with minuscule details of the city. Fully exploring the judicial system, the postmortem, with a emphasis on the artistic process including that of restorer at later date. These nuances captivate the reader along with an engaging cast of characters and smart narrative.
As we learn of Aris, we are privy to the harshness of society and its lack of forgiveness, not easily given to second chances. Aris, unable to change seems to write his destiny lacking remorse or regret, his story evoking plenty of empathy. Discoveries are made, secrets revealed, realizations acknowledged before a crescendo ending completes a fascinating reading experience.
A must read for art lovers, history of medicine and lovers of historical fiction. A story of mind, body, and soul, death and love, and the power of penance through art. Siegal cleverly and thoughtfully provides the reader with a myriad of questions regarding political gain, ethics, both physical and spiritual self. Worthwhile read by an extremely competent and detailed authoress.
Anchor Publishing is giving away two paperback copies of The Anatomy Lesson. Click HERE to enter giveaway. Giveaway is open to residents in the U.S. and Canada only. The winners will be notified via email and have 48 hours to respond. Ends 12/30.
Hardcover, 288 pages
Published March 11th 2014 by Nan A. Talese (first published January 1st 2014)