Synopses & Reviews
Taking the fire that destroyed the Fenice theatre in 1996 as his starting point, John Berendt creates a unique and unforgettable portrait of Venice and its extraordinary inhabitants. Beneath the exquisite facade of the world's most beautiful historic city, scandal, corruption and venality are rampant, and John Berendt is a master at seeking them out. Ezra Pound and his mistress, Olga; poet Mario Stefani; the Rat Man of Treviso; these are among the intriguing and eccentric characters whom Berendt skewers with his elegant pen. With his background in journalism, Berendt is perfectly poised to gain access to private and unapproachable people, and persuade them to talk frankly to him. The result is mischievous, witty, compelling - and destined to be the non-fiction succes d'estime of the year.
"Berendt writes so gracefully and with such a sharp eye for the telling, catty detail that you probably won't mind [the lack of a splashy overarching narrative]. (Grade: A-)" Entertainment Weekly
"Once again, Mr. Berendt makes erudite, inquisitive, nicely skeptical company as he leads the reader through the shadows of what was heretofore better known as a tourist attraction. [A]n urbane, beautifully fashioned book with much exotic charm." Janet Maslin, The New York Times
"Isolated, beautiful, decadent, often seen as doomed by the rising waters that surround it, Venice has bewitched writers for centuries. Clearly under its spell, Berendt skillfully shares the city's magic in his splendid new book." USA Today