Sleeping Embers of an Ordinary Mind by Anne Charnock


This is a speculative fiction, a braided story following three different young women. There’s Antonia Uccello, based on a real person, the daughter of artist Paolo Uccello, who may have been a painter herself. In our own time there is Toni, who has an artist father as well, and a mother who has just died. In the future there is Toniah, an art historian working for an organization that reevaluates male artist’s contributions to the world. It’s light on plot, but offers three interesting character worlds. I’m not sure if by the end the three different threads all say enough to each other. I was waiting for something more that never comes.

That said, I really enjoyed it. The world building in the future section was great. Toniah comes from a parthenogenetic family, and her background is super interesting. I loved the way Charnock writes description, and the way she writes about art. Lots of time Writing About Art can turn stuffy and dull, but this doesn’t. It’s very passionate and fun.

Antonia and Toni are both very young, thirteen and twelve respectively, and their stories are a lot about reaching an age where you can start to have your own identity, where you can chose what you are, and have some influence on what your life is like. I wonder if this might be a book I could share with my cousins who are around that age. It isn’t a must read, but it’s pleasant if you’re into the things it’s about.