Tag Archives: venice

The City of Falling Angels by John Berendt

The City of Falling Angels by John Berendt: I suspect most people who read this book do so for the same reason I did: they liked Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil. Instead of Savannah, we are now in Venice. The story opens a few days after the fire that destroyed the Fenice Theater and continues through its first performance after reopening almost ten years later. Most of the book is in some way related to this: a glassblower who makes vases to commemorate the event, the intracharity squabbles of an American group trying to fund restorations, and of course the investigation into the cause of the fire. In the middle are anecdotes about various other Venicians, including a rather long tale about Ezra Pound’s mistress, Olga Ruge. Berendt’s prose style reads very much like a novel, and I found myself very much wanting to see Venice. I also discovered that I don’t particularly want to visit Venice. The characters, while interesting and often eccentric, also struck me as particularly unfriendly and oversensitive. Gossip and bribery rule the day against the backdrop of gorgeous canals and palaces. Still, it’s an interesting book and very different from most travelogues. I’ll definitely keep an eye out for Berendt’s next work.

Also posted on BookCrossing.

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