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Across the Bridge of Sighs: More Venetian Storiesby Jane Turner Rylands
Synopses & Reviews
From the author of the acclaimed Venetian Stories, a captivating new collection about Venice from the perspective of its residents.
A professor writes lectures on Venetian literature for American millionaires. A baroness falls in love with the architect restoring the ancient palazzo of her husband's family. An ambitious gallery owner sells a young artist's work faster than he can paint it. A salesman finds a way to trip up a narcissistic race car driver who seems to be able to get away with anything. As her characters negotiate the conflict between tradition and a rapidly changing city, Jane Turner Rylands draws us deep into a society all but unknown to outsiders.
"This follow-up to Rylands's debut, Venetian Stories (2003), features a similar cast of fallen aristocrats, social climbers, workaday Venetians and their respective hangers-on. When Baroness Sofi Patristi finally divorces her serially philandering husband to marry the architect Vittorio Fallon in 'Restoration,' the refurbishments they undertake to the family's historic palazzo are interrupted by a tragedy that halts any future plans. In 'Fortune,' two exes reunite to visit their ne'er do-well-son Bingo. Since the split, Beauregard Benson has started a new life with his German boyfriend, Dieter, and ex-wife Carmenina has a tepid romance brewing with the aging Roman Count Barbaro. At a bourbon-fueled dinner party, raffish journalist Cad Peacock is there to chronicle the discomfiture of all, as is pliant young party girl Rosi Rosso. In 'Integration,' Contessa Panfili's son and daughter-in-law try to jar her into the modern age through a difficult journey to the garish supermarket on the mainland, mirroring the city's ongoing struggle against an imposed modernity. Rylands sometimes loses her characters in lofty prose (the contessa's loss of a son 'clapped over her life like a jar over a bee'). Whether witty or shimmeringly wistful, however, each of the tales Rylands spins prove entertaining, and the interwoven stories borrow from each other's casts with ease." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"Rylands picks up masterfully where her previous collection...left off....Individually and as a collective piece, the stories provide a wonderful insight into the author's beloved city." Booklist
"[T]hese stories suggest...that the real wonder of Venice is not its network of canals but its community of people....Elegant, worldly-wise and as captivating as the city it celebrates." Kirkus Reviews
"[A]lthough its depiction of the broad scope of Venetian society can have a satisfyingly Rashomon aspect, the weakness of Across the Bridge of Sighs lies in the insufficient luster of its individual portraits." Elizabeth Gaffney, The New York Times Book Review
"Machiavellian characters and the wicked humor of Rylands's prose make this a suitable purchase..." Library Journal
"One of the pleasures of reading Rylands is that she gives her readers an insiders' tour of Venice....If you've ever longed for a more intimate glimpse at this sorceress of a city, Rylands draws back the veil." Seattle Times
"Rylands's stories are like a teaspoon of grated Parmesan washed down a swallow of hearty red wine. They're a discreet indulgence." Salon
The author of Venetian Stories returns with 12 more witty, elegant, and captivating stories in which the conflicting forces of progress and tradition add to the complications of daily life.
About the Author
Jane Turner Rylands is the author of the collection Venetian Stories and has lived in Venice for more than three decades. She is married to Philip Rylands, the director of the Peggy Guggenheim Collection in Venice.
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