The Glassmaker: A Novel

Written by:
Tracy Chevalier
Narrated by:
Lisa Flanagan

Unabridged Audiobook

Release Date
June 2024
13 hours 44 minutes
A Parade and Christian Science Monitor Best Book of June

“This charming fable is at once a love story that skips through six centuries, and also a love song to the timeless craft of glassmaking. Chevalier probes the fierce rivalries and enduring loyalties of Murano's glass dynasties, capturing the roar of the furnace, the sweat on the skin, and the glittering beauty of Venetian glass.” – Geraldine Brooks, author of Horse

From the bestselling historical novelist, a rich, transporting story that follows a family of glassmakers from the height of Renaissance-era Italy to the present day.

It is 1486 and Venice is a wealthy, opulent center for trade. Orsola Rosso is the eldest daughter in a family of glassblowers on Murano, the island revered for the craft. As a woman, she is not meant to work with glass—but she has the hands for it, the heart, and a vision. When her father dies, she teaches herself to make glass beads in secret, and her work supports the Rosso family fortunes.

Skipping like a stone through the centuries, in a Venice where time moves as slowly as molten glass, we follow Orsola and her family as they live through creative triumph and heartbreaking loss, from a plague devastating Venice to Continental soldiers stripping its palazzos bare, from the domination of Murano and its maestros to the transformation of the city of trade into a city of tourists. In every era, the Rosso women ensure that their work, and their bonds, endure.

Chevalier is a master of her own craft, and The Glassmaker is as inventive as it is spellbinding: a mesmerizing portrait of a woman, a family, and a city as everlasting as their glass.
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Sharon S.

The book is a wonderful labor of love focusing on the glassworks or Murano and the nearby island of Venice. It follows the Rosso family from the 1400’s until present time. Note that I did not say the generations of the family, as the main character is Orsella Rosso for 500 years. The narrator explains that those on these islands age about 4 years to the world’s 70 or so. No character seems to notice, they just live as poor craftsmen through it all. Orsella’s love story is sweet. I just could never get past the strange movements through time. It would have been better if the author had taken the same story line and worked it through the descendants of the Rosso’s and not try to create this weird time warp. The narrator was great and there is quite a bit of Italian spoken throughout and not interpreted, but you figure it out by the response of the receiver. The narrator’s various accents and different character voices were well done.

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