In Lucia’s Eyes

In Lucia’s Eyes (translated from Dutch)

by Arthur Japin

I’m Kim Alexander and this is Fiction Nation.  The book is In Lucia’s Eyes by Arthur Japin.

This novel, translated from Dutch, is taken from a passage in the memoirs of Casanova. He talks about his first love, a 15-year old Italian girl named Lucia. Being too young to make a conquest, he promises to marry her when he returns to her villa in 6 months. When he does, she has vanished forever. Japin picks up the story of Lucia at this point, and her tale is a sad one. It turns out she leaves her home because of the pox. I’d like to thank modern medicine, by the way, because her illness is not only nearly fatal, it leaves her face so scarred that she knows she has to flee, her face forever hidden behind a veil. In In Lucia’s Eyes, she earns her living as a maid, a medical model, and of course a prostitute, finally a very successful one. A chance reunion with Casanova years later forces Lucia to examine her choices and decide whether to accept his pity, or sacrifice her happiness again. After all this introspection and tragedy, there is a hopeful, almost happy ending. In Lucia’s Eyes by Arthur Japin. I’m Kim Alexander on Fiction Nation on Book Radio, SiriusXM Channel 80.


I’m Kim Alexander and this is a Fiction Nation minute. The book is In Lucia’s Eyes by Arthur Japin.

Remember when you were 15, and you got one tiny pimple? Life as you knew it was over. Now imagine you are a 15-year old daughter of privilege in 18th century Italy, engaged to the young man who would become Casanova. Then, you are stricken with the pox, and your face is scarred almost beyond recognition. In In Lucia’s Eyes, she decides to put a veil over her face and flee, leaving everyone behind and telling no one where she had gone. The prospects for a girl like that are pretty much limited to degrees of prostitution, and poor Lucia finds herself as debased on the inside as she feels on the outside. Eventually, she works her way up from the streetcorners to the great houses of Amsterdam. A chance reunion with Casanova provokes a game of verbal cat and mouse, as she struggles to decide whether to reveal herself to him, or flee again. It didn’t turn out as I expected, and after much sadness, I was glad to see a hopeful note at the end. In Lucia’s Eyes by Arthur Japin, I’m Kim Alexander on Fiction Nation on Book Radio, SiriusXM Channel 80.


I’m Kim Alexander and this is a Fiction Nation minute. The book, In Lucia’s Eyes, by Arthur Japin.

When we meet our heroine, Lucia, she’s got a pretty nice life. It’s 18th century Italy, and she spends her days running through fields of wildflowers in a flowing white dress, and her nights cozying up to her fiancé, the young Casanova. Then, tragedy strikes — the pox. After nearly dying, Lucia gets up with a disfigured face and a new outlook on life. Having experienced the worst, nothing can hurt her. She puts on a veil and vanishes from Casanova’s life. Her adventures find her working as a maid to a kind lady scientist, posing as a life model at a medical college, and finally having to make her living as a prostitute. She and Casanova will meet again, many years later. Will she lift her veil and confess that she is Lucia, his lost love? Translated from Dutch, this is not a light romp, there is much tragedy and long discussions on philosophy. But for an interesting look at the hard choices women faced, and a glimpse of the early career of the famous Casanova, this is a worthy read. In Lucia’s Eyes, by Arthur Japin. I’m Kim Alexander on Fiction Nation on Book Radio, SiriusXM Channel 80.


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