Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Book review of Loving Le Corbusier by Colin Bisset

Loving Le Corbusier Colin Bisset review French Village Diaries
Loving Le Corbusier by Colin Bisset

I thought my review today should be one with a love theme and Loving Le Corbusier by Colin Bisset; a novel with passion, loyalty, hard work, but sadness too, seemed to be the perfect choice.

This is a novel based on the real life characters of Ed, Le Corbusier, and his wife Yvonne, told through her eyes. Le Corbusier, a Swiss born architect who took French nationality, designed some of the first modern tower blocks that revolutionised the way we lived post-war. Designed as villages on stilts with facilities on site, rooms flooded with light and views for all, his creations were always functional and clean lined and very different to anything that had come before. He is famous the world over, although I admit that until this book arrived in my inbox I knew very little about him. Now, I am hooked.

I love a novel based on fact; the strength of real characters and events, but the author’s take on their inner thoughts and feelings, and I found this a fascinating book. Yvonne Gallis, or Von as Ed calls her, who wasn’t in the spotlight quite like her husband, came to life through the author’s writing. I warmed to Yvonne, laughed at the jokes Ed and Von shared and felt her sadness when she was often left alone as he worked away. Ed and Von came from very different backgrounds, met and fell in love in Paris and although she loved him dearly, she never quite seemed to be able to see or understand his modern ideas. His vision and ambition, and her lack of either, almost drove them apart and troubled her mind. I felt her heartache; she knew Le Corbusier loved her, but she also knew his career would always come first.

This book offers a great insight into life before, during and after the Second World War, so perfect for those interested in historical fiction as well as with an interest in Le Corbusier and his struggle for recognition. Whilst set mainly in Paris, we also get to join them on the coast, as theirs was the lifestyle where you left Paris (and your troubles behind) for the summer. The years of the Occupation were not easy for France and the author portrays these difficulties well, especially for Von, who seemed quite lost and lonely during this time. She never gave up loving him, but she never quite lost her desire to return to the simple life they shared before his fame. I learned a lot through the pages of this book and Yvonne, and her life, have stayed with me long after the final page.

Loving Le Corbusier is available in ebook format, link to Amazon below.