I liked this book about Venice - its history, people and events, especially in the late 20th century.
This book seemed to cover more of the characters of Venice than what actually happened to the historic Fenice Opera House. Venice is a very intriguing city with many problems not visible to the tourists that spend a few days there. The book does cover a little bit of what happened to the theater but there never seems to be any resolution to the bigger problems affecting Venice and in a greater sense Italy. Things don't get done unless you go through endless layers of bureaucracy and of course knowing people and having connections seem like the only way to accomplish things. Of course the rich, connected people never seem to be found guilty of crimes either. Of the many characters in this book there only seems to be one hero, Mayor Paolo Costa. In the end Fenice was rebuilt and reopened but nothing else in Venice was fixed. On a personal sidenote, the reopening of la Fenice was on the same weekend that me and my wife first visited the city together....Continua
This book is about Venetians. Each chapter is a tale of one eccentric charactor in Venice, with the background at the fire of the historic opera house Fenice.
While the book isn't so bad, but I think it is really over praised. The chapters are irrelevant to one another, and most of them have nothing to do with Fenice either....Continua
REading history without realizing you are doing it!!
Having read John Behrendt's excellent Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil and its explorations of Savannah, Georgia, I was curious to see what direction he might take with Venice. While the book starts off with a conflagration as the Fenice opera house burns to the ground, it quickly goes off in a variety of other directions. Behrendt has a keen eye for the unusual and the quirky, and he covers a number of such personalities in detail. Most fascinating are the elder craftsman of Murano glass and his family's battles, a gentleman whose specialty is the creation of perfect rat poison, a tragically sad (but gregarious) poet and several American expatriates. Most of all, though, the story of how the woman left behind when Ezra Pound passed away found herself bedazzled and possibly grifted by a couple who gave every appearance of helping her was utterly captivating. There are a few moments where Behrendt gets a bit repetitive, but since each chapter reads as its own vignette, the stories that get multiple mentions are excusable....Continua