All Is Beauty Now
From a breathtakingly mature new voice in Canadian fiction comes an exquisite debut novel of family secrets, divided loyalties, and what we’re willing to do to save ourselves, set against the seductive world of 1960s Rio de Janeiro.Set in 1963 Rio, Brazil, this mesmerizing first novel follows a glamorous and long-privileged family as they prepare to leave the seeming paradise of Brazil for Canada in the wake of the mysterious disappearance—and presumed drowning—of their eldest daughter a year earlier. As the novel moves back and forth between the members of the Maurer family, we are not only immersed in a unique time and place, but also gradually taken into the heart of a family whose beauty and charm belie a more troubled reality. We meet the family’s brilliant and charismatic father, whose bipolar extremes are becoming increasingly disturbing; his long-suffering wife, who once had a brief affair that proves to have shattering consequences for the family she swore to protect; their two remaining daughters, both on the brink of understanding the darker currents that run in their once-proud family; and the lost daughter herself, a beautiful young woman undone by her own grand delusions.With settings ranging from the golden beaches of Rio to the squalor of its fishing villages, from the glamour of the legendary Copacabana Club to the austerity of a remote convent, this revelatory novel takes us into the soul of a family already living in the shadow of loss and now poised to leave behind everything they’ve ever known, if only they could make peace with the past.

All Is Beauty Now Details

TitleAll Is Beauty Now
Author
LanguageEnglish
ReleaseAug 29th, 2017
PublisherMcClelland & Stewart
ISBN-139780771009334
Rating
GenreFiction, Historical, Historical Fiction, Cultural, Canada, Brazil

All Is Beauty Now Review

  • AJ
    January 1, 1970
    You can also find this review at booksbestfriendblog.wordpress.com/201...Note: I received this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest reviewDevastating and beautiful. Reading this book felt like lifting a curtain on a chaotic family dynamic, pulled into the dazzling contact highs and dark, chaotic lows that drag you under.  The lush, Brazilian setting perfectly mirrors the family's story: the bright, colorful and lively energy followed by the dark seas of depression.  All Is Beauty Now te You can also find this review at booksbestfriendblog.wordpress.com/201...Note: I received this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest reviewDevastating and beautiful. Reading this book felt like lifting a curtain on a chaotic family dynamic, pulled into the dazzling contact highs and dark, chaotic lows that drag you under.  The lush, Brazilian setting perfectly mirrors the family's story: the bright, colorful and lively energy followed by the dark seas of depression.  All Is Beauty Now tells the tale of the Maurer family, expats in 1960's Brazil, as they deal with the aftermath of their eldest daughter's disappearance and presumed drowning.  Just before their move to Canada for cheaper healthcare for their bipolar father Hugo, Luiza takes the two youngest daughters to the beach and never comes back from a swim.  After delaying their move for a year in hope of finding some closure on Luiza's presumed death, Dora now struggles to get her family ready for the trip while coming to terms with how she failed her daughter.While the Maurer family tries to keep up a respectable facade in public, they live in fear of Hugo's condition.  The very thing that made Dora fall in love with him, his exuberant highs, are followed deep lows.  As both the highs grow and lows deepen, the plateaus between them shrink and Dora spends most days holding her breath until the other shoe drops.  Trying to be there for the father she admires, Luiza became his nurse and helper while refusing to see his condition as an illness.  She views it as an essential part of him.  While Hugo has to live with the knowledge of what his condition does to his family, Dora has to come to terms with her failure to protect Luiza from the chaos it caused.I loved how the author portrays the dangers of romanticizing mental illness.  Too many books just tell Luiza's side of the story,.  She viewed Hugo's manic episodes as someone being truly alive, more alive than the ordinary, thoughtless average Joe just following the crowd can ever hope to be.  If you view it that way, it's almost worth the depressive lows that incapacitate Hugo for weeks.  Dora shows that it really is an illness that needs to be treated.  He is not his illness, and he will still Hugo Maurer even if he undergoes treatment.Luisa also infuriated me by how seriously she took everything, as if every decision was a matter of life or death.  That must have been a side-affect of being forced to care for her father at such a young age.  Everything probably did seem that serious and pressing, every decision life altering.I highly recommend this to anyone looking for a compassionate description of a family's struggles and secrets or the evocative descriptions of 1960's Rio de Janeiro.
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  • Lolly K Dandeneau
    January 1, 1970
    via my blog: https://bookstalkerblog.wordpress.com/If she didn’t have to be his echo. What would it be like if she wasn’t tethered to him, always calculating his distance from earth’s flat surfaces, predicting when he might next wheel away or plummet. Then retrieving him, reviving him.This is a heartbreaking story, as a family decides to leave the lush freedom of Brazil in the 1960’s for the restricting skin of Canada after the drowning of their eldest daughter, each family member unravels. With via my blog: https://bookstalkerblog.wordpress.com/If she didn’t have to be his echo. What would it be like if she wasn’t tethered to him, always calculating his distance from earth’s flat surfaces, predicting when he might next wheel away or plummet. Then retrieving him, reviving him.This is a heartbreaking story, as a family decides to leave the lush freedom of Brazil in the 1960’s for the restricting skin of Canada after the drowning of their eldest daughter, each family member unravels. Without a body, how can anyone accept the vanishing of Luiza, their fragile, beautiful girl? In the wake of tragedy, the allure of the Maurer family that captivated everyone, locals and friends alike, turns bitter. Luiza was an ‘odd girl’, and patriarch Hugo- Hugo and his madness, that excessive lust for life fatiguing others- it was bound to come crashing down. They aren’t so special in the end! His wife Dora, the great beauty, together they were the admired, passionate couple but beneath their pride, Hugo’s mental illness, his breakdowns coming and going like storms have been washing away the foundation of their glorious lives. The children too young or too tormented to comprehend the ruptures. That this paradise has been a place Hugo’s emotional nature is accepted, it may also have been feeding his boundless wildness. A change of environment is needed, a place with more stability, regardless of how restraining it will be on Hugo.Luiza has found herself caught in the waves of her father’s mania, how much better he is when not dulled by pills and treatments. Who is the real Hugo? Is it her mother’s fault, trying to fix the very things about her father that makes him a bright sun in the world? Luiza is Hugo’s girl, she too has a storm inside of her both terrifying and mesmerizing. Dora is the true head of the family, keeping Hugo’s chaos contained, but blind to the effects on her daughters. Evie’s veil of youth is thinning, she is beginning to see the darkness overtaking her family, desperate to understand the secrets her naive mind can’t make sense of. Broken by the loss of her sister, both parents unavailable, outsiders interfering and taking her mother away when she and her father need her most. The house is divided and half packed, the Maurer family is in a self-imposed purgatory. Will they ever leave this paradise and the horror of everything that happened? Will they dig up Luiza’s secrets? How are her last days tied to her mother’s deceptions?This is an interesting story, because on the one hand it exposes the heartbreaking reality of mental illness on an entire family, not simply the ugly side but the beauty and enchantment of it. Hugo and Dora’s love is deep, abiding but his illness asks much of Dora, and she is a woman with her own hungry needs. Dora’s affair in the past has punishing consequences, and there is nothing just about it. Hugo knows what life with him is like, but he cannot change who he is, but lord he tries! He has always been determined to be solid, better, to return whole to his beloved. The reader is privy to Hugo’s thoughts about his Bipolar disorder, which is important as much as those trying to hold him up. There is a seductive power in mania- the unbridled energy, the brilliance that makes it so appealing but too it is toxic in the destructive forces on innocence. Life, such as this, can also be a prison. Sometimes amputation from the family is the only form of escape. Love can be a destructive force, even when it doesn’t mean to be. A heartbreaking novel about mental illness and a family scrambling to pull themselves back together.Publication Date: August 8, 2017Little, Brown and Company
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  • Jessica
    January 1, 1970
    Won in the First Reads giveaway.Very well written and complex characters. My favourite chapters were from Evie's POV and the descriptions of Carnival were very good. I will admit, I wouldn't have signed up for the book if I had known it was about white Brazilians. I didn't even know about the Confederados thing, that's messed up.I think some more humour could have been injected into the story. Not to lighten up, but to humanize the characters more. Luiza's chapters were a bit of a slog at first, Won in the First Reads giveaway.Very well written and complex characters. My favourite chapters were from Evie's POV and the descriptions of Carnival were very good. I will admit, I wouldn't have signed up for the book if I had known it was about white Brazilians. I didn't even know about the Confederados thing, that's messed up.I think some more humour could have been injected into the story. Not to lighten up, but to humanize the characters more. Luiza's chapters were a bit of a slog at first, but her last two were great.
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  • Amy Stuart
    January 1, 1970
    I was lucky enough to receive an advanced copy of this gorgeous novel. I can't remember the last time I read a book where every page had a turn of phrase that took my breath away. And alongside that are a plot and a cast of characters that will stay with you long after you've finished reading. Not to be missed. I would not be surprised if this novel cleaned up once awards season rolls around.
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  • Booksandchinooks (Laurie)
    January 1, 1970
    I had a free copy of this book for an honest review. This book is set in the early 1960's in Brazil. Hugo, the patriarch of the family suffers from bipolar disorder. Since this takes place in the 1960's there are fewer treatments and a lack of understanding for this condition and that plays a factor in the book. It seems like every character in this book could use some sort of therapy for psychiatric conditions. I found I couldn't really like any of the characters. The family had so much dysfunc I had a free copy of this book for an honest review. This book is set in the early 1960's in Brazil. Hugo, the patriarch of the family suffers from bipolar disorder. Since this takes place in the 1960's there are fewer treatments and a lack of understanding for this condition and that plays a factor in the book. It seems like every character in this book could use some sort of therapy for psychiatric conditions. I found I couldn't really like any of the characters. The family had so much dysfunction and it was hard to see how they were going to repair any of this and move forward. I found that discouraging for all the characters. The book is very descriptive - too much for my liking.
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  • Naomi
    January 1, 1970
    Goodreads GiveawayWell written, suspenseful, excellent sense of time and place, good family dynamics. Some readers might find the mystery plot line a little frustrating, because of the time spent on place and characterization, but those are the things I look for so had no problem with it. I do have one big question about the way things went that accounts for the missing star, but am not going to give it away.
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  • Julia
    January 1, 1970
    I love to read all kinds of books, but one of my favourites in novels that take me to another time and place; the kind of novels where you actually almost forget that you're reading printed words on a page, because everything on that page is written so vividly (and so well) that it's more like watching a movie unfold in your mind than reading words on a paper. That's what this book was like. It took me to Brazil, it introduced me to a family of so-real-they-come-to-life characters, and it was a I love to read all kinds of books, but one of my favourites in novels that take me to another time and place; the kind of novels where you actually almost forget that you're reading printed words on a page, because everything on that page is written so vividly (and so well) that it's more like watching a movie unfold in your mind than reading words on a paper. That's what this book was like. It took me to Brazil, it introduced me to a family of so-real-they-come-to-life characters, and it was a wonderful read.One element of it that was especially interesting to me was one of the character being bi-polar. The book is set in the 60s, at time where treatments were less available to those with that condition. My partner of almost a decade is, himself, bi-polar, so I found that element of the book really interesting. And, also, totally accurate.Wonderful book!
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  • Kelsi H
    January 1, 1970
    Please read all of my reviews at http://ultraviolentlit.blogspot.ca!In this debut novel by Canadian author Sarah Faber, the setting is the lush and vibrant landscape of 1960s Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. From the glamorous wealth of the Copacabana Club to the squalor of the neighbouring fishing villages, the contradictions of Brazil come brilliantly to life. The novel follows the privileged Maurer family as they prepare to leave sunny Rio for the cooler climate of Canada. However, as the date of depa Please read all of my reviews at http://ultraviolentlit.blogspot.ca!In this debut novel by Canadian author Sarah Faber, the setting is the lush and vibrant landscape of 1960s Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. From the glamorous wealth of the Copacabana Club to the squalor of the neighbouring fishing villages, the contradictions of Brazil come brilliantly to life. The novel follows the privileged Maurer family as they prepare to leave sunny Rio for the cooler climate of Canada. However, as the date of departure approaches, one family member suddenly disappears without explanation.Hugo and Dora Maurer have three daughters, but it is their oldest, Luiza, who is known for her ethereal beauty. One day, while at the beach with her younger sisters, Luiza goes out for a swim and never returns. Luiza is presumed drowned and, although no body is ever discovered, a funeral is held for the young woman. The Maurers stay in Rio for another year after her disappearance, but finally begin once again to prepare to leave Brazil. Luiza’s father Hugo is a brilliant and charismatic man who is also bipolar – he suffers from thrilling highs and dark lows. Luiza has always been expected to care for her father, and yet she doesn’t resent him – instead, she idolizes his creativity and intelligence, and resents her mother for trying to keep him medicated. As a Canadian citizen, Hugo will receive free health care in Canada, which is why Dora is pushing to return there. However, Hugo and the girls wish to stay in Rio, where Hugo’s extreme moods are accepted and even encouraged in some ways. Dora has always been loyal to her mercurial husband, although she once had an affair that still haunts her – and her family – in unexpected ways. The younger sisters, Evie and Magda, don’t always understand what is going on around them, yet they are still affected by the dark moods and ominous feelings that surround them. In the shadow of the loss of Luiza, the entire family struggles to move forward and make peace with the past. However, when Dora learns that there may be a way to find out more about her daughter’s final days, she embarks on her own journey and leaves the remaining family behind.The flashbacks to Luiza’s last months are told in alternating points of view, allowing each family member to express themselves – and all the characters, including the children, are captured extremely well. All is Beauty Now explores the ugly reality of mental illness, and the price we pay for loving a person who struggles with it. This is a dark, intense story filled with lush, beautiful language, and I look forward to whatever Faber writes next.I received this book from McClelland & Stewart and NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
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  • Doreen Ashbrook
    January 1, 1970
    This is a beautifully written story of a family steeped in darkness, dysfunction and madness. The family consists of a mother, father and three daughters. Told from first perso9n perspectives after the eldest daughter goes missing as the family is preparing to leave Brazil for Canada. Ms. Faber's writing is truly poetic - the story though is very dark.
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  • Shanna (Bibliophile Chronicles)
    January 1, 1970
    DNF at 67%I won an ARC of this book through a Goodreads contest and I was so excited to read this book, I picked it up the day it was delivered. As interesting as the synopsis sounded, it did not take me long to realize that there was something about this story that wasn't gripping me. It's not that I hated it, but I was hoping for so much more than it gave me. I take great pains to think that I am putting down this book not having finished it but I just do not feel invested in the story or char DNF at 67%I won an ARC of this book through a Goodreads contest and I was so excited to read this book, I picked it up the day it was delivered. As interesting as the synopsis sounded, it did not take me long to realize that there was something about this story that wasn't gripping me. It's not that I hated it, but I was hoping for so much more than it gave me. I take great pains to think that I am putting down this book not having finished it but I just do not feel invested in the story or characters.All Beauty is Now is the story of a family unraveling after the disappearance and assumed drowning of the eldest daughter, Luiza. It exposes the darker side of living with a person who has a mental illness and the havoc it can cause a family. Set in the early 1960s Brazil, this story is told through the perspective of the entire Maurer family, one year after the Luiza's disappearance. The story takes its time to unfold, told through a series of past and present events, in the weeks before the family is set to depart for Canada. The family dynamic is super dysfunctional and it is difficult to see how they will be able to come together and move forward. The family had their issues before Luiza disappears but it is obvious that their relationships with eachother suffer greatly afterwards. The fact that it is told through the perspective of five different characters makes it feel a little helter skelter. While we do get a good perspective from each character, I felt like I could not relate to any of them and disconnected me from the story. The writing style was interesting and the thing that I struggled with the most. The author's writing style is over descriptive and the kinda poetic flowery writing that missed its mark. It was like someone filled a tumbler full of random words, shook it up and dumped it into this book. Everything went around in circles and I was never sure if what was described was actually in the past, present or some sort of hallucination (because there are some throughout the book). Maybe it's not the writing style for me. Maybe I just didn't get it. I may at some point pick this book up and finish it. For now, I think I'm better off leaving it were it is.
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  • Susan
    January 1, 1970
    I felt like it took me forever to read this book. I could usually blow through 350 pages in a few days but this took me a whole week! It wasn't a struggle to read in any way but it's just so dense, both the writing and the story, that I read really slowly and only got through 50 pages a day. I guess I needed time to digest. It's beautifully written and I'm surprised this is the author's debut novel because it seems very mature and accomplished. The story was fascinating and completely engaging. I felt like it took me forever to read this book. I could usually blow through 350 pages in a few days but this took me a whole week! It wasn't a struggle to read in any way but it's just so dense, both the writing and the story, that I read really slowly and only got through 50 pages a day. I guess I needed time to digest. It's beautifully written and I'm surprised this is the author's debut novel because it seems very mature and accomplished. The story was fascinating and completely engaging. There is an underlying mystery that flavours the entire story. The resolution of the mystery was entirely unexpected and just awesome! One of the major issues in All Is Beauty Now is the patriarch's bipolar disorder and it's impact on his family. The story is set in the 1960's and treatments for mental illness were experimental and often harmful. It was tragic that such a brilliant, vibrant man during his high periods was brought so low during his low periods and no one seemed able to help him. The story takes place in Rio de Janeiro and it was so vividly brought to life that it made me want to visit! The descriptions of the flowers and beaches was detailed and it all felt very real. Of course this story is set in the 60's and the characters bemoan that Brazil isn't as perfect as it used to be in the past, so I'm betting the Rio described doesn't exist anymore. I also learned some interesting history that I knew nothing about before reading this book. I had never really thought about what happened to American Confederate soldiers and their families after they lost the Civil War. I just assumed they adapted to the change but apparently many fled rather than submit to the North. Some ended up in Brazil where they became wealthy from things such as shipping and diamond mines. This mother of this family is the descendant of these Confederates and so the family is very wealthy and lives in a heavily protected mansion. They mostly live a life of leisure with maids and drivers while most of Brazil is very poor. The contrast is startling and I'm sad to say that I don't think very much has changed.This book was full of food for thought and I loved the mystery and it's conclusion. The characters were very well fleshed out and the setting was realistic enough to make me want to be in Brazil. I enjoyed the story very much and took my time with it. It's not a tale to be rushed through!I received this book for free through a Goodreads Firstreads giveaway but this has not influenced my review in any way.
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  • Kate Olson
    January 1, 1970
    Thanks to Little Brown for the free review copy - all opinions are my own. The lush setting and provocative premise made this an enjoyable read, although it was a little too slow-paced and description-laden for my current reading mood. If you like family intrigue in an exotic setting and a great deal of rumination, flashback and adjectives, this one is for you.
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  • Lynn
    January 1, 1970
    A family's coping with a daughter/sister disappearance. Sometimes read as a little drawn out.
  • Melissa
    January 1, 1970
    At once beautiful and devastating we are swept into the captivating setting of Rio de Janiero in the 1960s, when tragedy bores its way into a wealthy family. Luiza, the eldest of three daughters takes her sisters to the crowded beach on a beautiful day. A strong swimmer, she is seen swimming far out into the ocean, and then not seen again. As we delve into the events prior to and post Luiza’s disappearance and presumed drowning we are invited into the secret thoughts of Luiza’s family members, e At once beautiful and devastating we are swept into the captivating setting of Rio de Janiero in the 1960s, when tragedy bores its way into a wealthy family. Luiza, the eldest of three daughters takes her sisters to the crowded beach on a beautiful day. A strong swimmer, she is seen swimming far out into the ocean, and then not seen again. As we delve into the events prior to and post Luiza’s disappearance and presumed drowning we are invited into the secret thoughts of Luiza’s family members, each broken in their own way by the patriarch Hugo’s bipolar disorder. Back and forth between their anger, suffering, blame, confusion, shame and sweet remembrance Luiza’s own secrets and mistakes spill onto the pages in heartbreaking prose and naked detail. Did Luiza take her own life or was this a tragic accident? Could Luiza still be alive? – Without a body there is hope and with hope there is no closure, no moving on, only wondering where she is and why she is gone.This is one of those novels that you read the synopsis and think "well this sounds alright" and then you are completely enraptured and altogether surprised in the best way possible! This is a stunning read and one of my faves this year.
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  • Donna
    January 1, 1970
    Mental illness is dealt with differently today than it was during the early sixties, which is the setting for this novel. The family tries to hide the disease from one and all. While seeking treatment on a different continent, the family sacrifices much to help the afflicted family member. We are introduced to several stressful situations that have an effect on both the adults and children in different ways. Through it all the theme of a mother's love and faith in her loved ones never waivers. T Mental illness is dealt with differently today than it was during the early sixties, which is the setting for this novel. The family tries to hide the disease from one and all. While seeking treatment on a different continent, the family sacrifices much to help the afflicted family member. We are introduced to several stressful situations that have an effect on both the adults and children in different ways. Through it all the theme of a mother's love and faith in her loved ones never waivers. The outcome of one of these situations is surprising and also gives the reader a sense of hope for the survivors. I enjoyed this as a winner of a giveaway and would highly recommend it!
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  • Janice
    January 1, 1970
    Gorgeous prose that left me in Brazil. A book to savor. Thoroughly enjoyed the journey.
  • Wendy Kravetz
    January 1, 1970
    Such a great book! I have now passed it on for others to read .Thank You
  • Diane
    January 1, 1970
    A young woman, Luiza,  walks into the water at a sunny beach in Brazil in 1962. She disappears and no body was found and she is presumed drowned, washed out to sea. A year later, her family is still reeling from the apparent drowning and has decided to move their family back to Canada because the father, Hugo, a Canadian citizen, needs medical treatment and it's free in Canada. As they prepare, pack and spend time with friends, the story digs into the family,  their background and  personalities A young woman, Luiza,  walks into the water at a sunny beach in Brazil in 1962. She disappears and no body was found and she is presumed drowned, washed out to sea. A year later, her family is still reeling from the apparent drowning and has decided to move their family back to Canada because the father, Hugo, a Canadian citizen, needs medical treatment and it's free in Canada. As they prepare, pack and spend time with friends, the story digs into the family,  their background and  personalities as each one deals with their grief in their own way.Dora, Luiza's mother, is desperate to learn about her daughter's last days and still hopes against hope that her daughter is alive somewhere. The affair she had years ago is going to prove to have huge consequences. Hugo, Luiza's father, is spiraling back into another manic "high" phase, and we find out Dora and the family have been dealing with his mental illness  all their married life.  Their other two daughters, Evie and Magda are very different personalities with their own secrets as they're reaching their teens, becoming more aware of the adult realities of the family. Through flashbacks, we also learn about Luiza's last months, weeks and days before her disappearance.  Hugo was adored by his daughters while Dora has to carry the burden of dealing with his illness more directly.The story is told alternatively from each of their points of view. The atmosphere of Rio in the early 60s is vividly described. The story of this family, beautiful and glamourous on the surface,  reveals more and more layers beneath the brittle exterior. There's one chapter describing Hugo's thoughts while in his mania that is just breathtakingly, achingly bizarre, glorious and heartbreaking. The children think he shouldn't be drugged and made to think and be like "normal"people, that his imagination and his ravings are what make him exciting but Dora, having to deal with his excessive highs and lows, ends up being the bad guy in her children's eyes because she has to deal with it on an adult level, he can be dangerous to himself and his daughters in that state. When all the secrets are revealed and the dust settles, you find yourself wanting to go back and start the ride all over again. This is a debut novel and is beautifully written, with the voices of each character unique and insightful .The author has captured the innocence of the children as well as the voices of the adults in a believable way. And now I want to travel to Rio!Thanks to Netgalley for a digital ARC for review.
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  • Matthew
    January 1, 1970
    If memory serves correct it was Lili Wright's Dancing With the Tiger in which I expounded upon the whole "don't judge a book by its cover" cliche; that novel never did live up to its striking cover art, and in fact few ever do (save for Stephen Florida or A Little Life). Yet I found myself intrigued by Sarah Faber's debut, All is Beauty Now, for the entirely same superficial reasons: the cover, yes, but even the title and description of the novel itself. Suffice to say I could've removed the jac If memory serves correct it was Lili Wright's Dancing With the Tiger in which I expounded upon the whole "don't judge a book by its cover" cliche; that novel never did live up to its striking cover art, and in fact few ever do (save for Stephen Florida or A Little Life). Yet I found myself intrigued by Sarah Faber's debut, All is Beauty Now, for the entirely same superficial reasons: the cover, yes, but even the title and description of the novel itself. Suffice to say I could've removed the jacket entirely and had a far more enjoyable experience.That's not to completely dismiss All is Beauty Now. As the title somewhat suggests there's plenty of beauty here; Faber possesses a sure talent, vividly describing the kaleidoscopic streets of Rio De Janero in the early 60s with a colorful flourish. Pretty as many of the passages may be, it's not enough to save the novel from banality.The Maurers, a glamorous, well-to-do family, are preparing to leave Brazil upon the mysterious disappearance of Luiza, the brood’s oldest daughter. Her body never found it’s presumed she’d drowned; yet her spirit continues to haunt each family member. As the novel shifts from past to present day 1962, as well as back and forth between each family member, we become privy to what defines them, to what secrets they hold. Hugo, the patriarch, suffers from bipolar depression; his constant mood swings unsurprisingly have a vast effect on his wife and daughters. Wife Dora rekindles her relationship with a co-worker of Hugo’s whom she once had a brief affair, the consequences devastating. Magda and Evie, the two “living” daughters, begin to discover the magnitude of the secrets their parents hold. And then there’s long lost Luiza, the heart of the story, seemingly lost and gone forever. But why?What follows is a plodding, soap-operatic story, and while it may answer many of the questions presented, it takes damn near forever to get there. Lost within Faber’s beautiful prose is an actual story; far too often I found myself wondering the ultimate point of some chapters, other than to showcase the author’s ability to write beautifully (or wax on and on and on about the Maurers nostalgia for a place they haven’t even left yet). I wouldn’t necessarily call it self-indulgent so much as I would call it fluffy. Yet it’s this fluffiness, this ability to mask the plot’s flaws and foibles that saves All is Beauty Now. It’s certainly the work of a truly talented writer; yet at the same time it’s also the work of rather average storyteller.
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  • Leslie Anderson
    January 1, 1970
    I really enjoyed the characterization in this novel. Each person was uniquely believable. Although sometimes they could articulate feelings and ideas in ways most people can't, they were all relatable in some way or another. That being said, it took some getting used to with the set up of narration and chapters. While each chapter lets you into the thoughts of a different character, it is still 3rd person. My favorite part of the novel would be how well planned and thought out it was. Each detai I really enjoyed the characterization in this novel. Each person was uniquely believable. Although sometimes they could articulate feelings and ideas in ways most people can't, they were all relatable in some way or another. That being said, it took some getting used to with the set up of narration and chapters. While each chapter lets you into the thoughts of a different character, it is still 3rd person. My favorite part of the novel would be how well planned and thought out it was. Each detail made sense when the book is complete. My least favorite was the narrative voice. I felt I would have heard the characters voices or understood them better having 1st person switch rather than omniscient.
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  • Paula
    January 1, 1970
    Thanks to Goodreads and Penguin Random House Canada for a free copy of this book.I was surprised to find out that All Is Beauty Now is Sarah Faber's first novel. It is so beautifully written with such careful detail to setting and characterization. Set in the 1960's in Brazil, it tells the story of a dysfunctional family dealing with mental illness and with the presumed drowning of the oldest child. Faber reminds me of a literary Patricia Highsmith, as she has captured the mood of the 60's, the Thanks to Goodreads and Penguin Random House Canada for a free copy of this book.I was surprised to find out that All Is Beauty Now is Sarah Faber's first novel. It is so beautifully written with such careful detail to setting and characterization. Set in the 1960's in Brazil, it tells the story of a dysfunctional family dealing with mental illness and with the presumed drowning of the oldest child. Faber reminds me of a literary Patricia Highsmith, as she has captured the mood of the 60's, the exotic location, and the sense that something is not quite as it seems. I am also reminded of Wide Sargasso Sea with the very atmospheric slow burn, gradually building in intensity.When I first started reading this book, I wasn't sure that I would really like it but the more I read, the harder it was to put down. So, due to the slow start, I couldn't rate it 5 stars, 4.5 instead.
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  • Heather
    January 1, 1970
    Such a beautifully written story about a family of 5, who unexpectedly become a family of 4 upon the presumed drowning of the eldest daughter Luiza. While grieving and trying to understand what happened to Luiza, deep rooted family secrets are uncovered. This story is told through the eyes of all 5 family members, the secrets they've discovered, and how they cope with them. An absolute beauty of a book.
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  • Marissa
    January 1, 1970
    Goodreads WinA young girl is thought to die in the water but her body has not been found. It has been a year as the family still mourns and on her death figurative her despite no physical body. Is she really dead? The family still is dealing with their loss as they get ready to migrate to Canada as originally planned beforehand. Each member of the family has their own perspective as the family dynamics are crumbling and secrets will start to unravel.A telling tale of how fragile family dynamics Goodreads WinA young girl is thought to die in the water but her body has not been found. It has been a year as the family still mourns and on her death figurative her despite no physical body. Is she really dead? The family still is dealing with their loss as they get ready to migrate to Canada as originally planned beforehand. Each member of the family has their own perspective as the family dynamics are crumbling and secrets will start to unravel.A telling tale of how fragile family dynamics can be.
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  • Barbara
    January 1, 1970
    2.5/5. I received a free copy of this book from the publisher via the Goodreads giveaway."All is Beauty Now" tells the story of the Maurer family, a privileged family living in Brazil in the 1960s. A year after their oldest daughter Luisa went missing/presumed drowned, the remaining family members are still struggling to move on. Told in alternating perspectives from all four family members, we learn about Evie (the youngest daughter), Madga (the middle daughter), Dora (the mother) and Hugo (the 2.5/5. I received a free copy of this book from the publisher via the Goodreads giveaway."All is Beauty Now" tells the story of the Maurer family, a privileged family living in Brazil in the 1960s. A year after their oldest daughter Luisa went missing/presumed drowned, the remaining family members are still struggling to move on. Told in alternating perspectives from all four family members, we learn about Evie (the youngest daughter), Madga (the middle daughter), Dora (the mother) and Hugo (the father). The author also provides us with Luis'a perspective, starting approximately one year before her disappearance.The premise of this book was really interesting, and the characters' grief was really well defined. Each character dealt with the tragedy differently- Hugo's grief, for example, was even more affected by the ups and downs of his bipolar disorder, and Dora struggled with trying to keep her family together on top of her grief. Furthermore, the author writes beautifully and descriptively, and includes detailed description of life in Brazil. Despite this, I found that this book was oftentimes too descriptive, and the unnecessary length of everything ultimately made the book boring. There was also a huge deal of jumping back and forth between the characters' memories and present day (often in the same paragraph) that also ended up making things hard to follow.Overall, this book wasn't for me but seems to be well received by other readers; as such, I would recommend this to other readers looking for an interesting historical fiction.
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  • Susie James
    January 1, 1970
    I won a copy of this amazingly conceived and written novel by Sarah Faber via Goodreads. "All is Beauty Now" a story of a family with roots in Canada and the Southern United States of another century, growing and flowering in the lush ground of Brazil. Its descriptions of a family's grief and devastation after the disappearance of the eldest child are tangled, yet clear as one reads the individual sections as Faber writes them. The telling of the father's mental illness through the years leading I won a copy of this amazingly conceived and written novel by Sarah Faber via Goodreads. "All is Beauty Now" a story of a family with roots in Canada and the Southern United States of another century, growing and flowering in the lush ground of Brazil. Its descriptions of a family's grief and devastation after the disappearance of the eldest child are tangled, yet clear as one reads the individual sections as Faber writes them. The telling of the father's mental illness through the years leading up to Luiza's vanishing during a trip to a popular and crowded beach at Rio de Janeiro: how the demands made of the children of such a parent impacts everyone is so well written! Yet, all the humanity is touchingly shared ... highly recommended reading. Thanks for giving me the chance to take part.
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  • Thelma Fountain
    January 1, 1970
    I received this book in a goodreads giveaway. I found this book difficult to follow. Each chapter told in a different persons point of view. The mental illness aspect of the story was very confusing but I do understand that mental illness is confusing so I am sure that was true to life. I just had a hard time getting into the story. The setting of Rio was very interesting I did enjoy the descriptions of the city and beach, the beauty of the country of Brazil.
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  • D.J.
    January 1, 1970
    Well written and was surprised that this is the author's debut novel as it was very mature but yet accomplished.However I thought it was going to take me forever to read, wasn't a struggle to read it was just dense.Story of a family steeped in darkness and dysfunction It seems like every character in this book could use some sort of therapy.
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  • HelenJ
    January 1, 1970
    Although this debut book is well written, I didn't devour it. The strong bi-polar father character, with everyone having to adjust their lives around him, was not what I expected when I selected this book. I was intrigued to find out more of about life in Rio with a Canadian connection. I will read another of Sara Faber's books if the subject draws me to it.
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  • Dakota MacLean
    January 1, 1970
    I won this book in a Giveaway from Goodreads. I really enjoyed this book, for me it was a quick read. A lot passages were beautifully written and it went well with the intense atmosphere of the novel.
  • Kathleen
    January 1, 1970
    A well-written description of a family shaken by secrets and a bi-polar member. The separate perspectives of each family member add depth to this book which is more psychological study than engaging story.
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