Synopses & Reviews
Donna Leon has won a huge number of passionate fans and a tremendous amount of critical acclaim for her international bestselling mystery series featuring Venetian Commissario Guido Brunetti. These accolades have built up not just for her intricate plots and gripping narratives, but for her insight into the culture, politics, family-life, and history of Venice, one of the worlds most-treasured cities, and Leons home for over thirty years. Readers love how Leon opens the doors to a private Venice, beyond the reach of the millions of international tourists who delight in the city's canals, food, and art every year.
My Venice and Other Essays will be a treat for Leon's many fans, as well as for lovers of Italy and La Serenissima. For many years, Leon, who is a perennial #1 bestseller in Germany, has written essays for European publications. Collected here are the best of these: over fifty funny, charming, passionate, and insightful essays that range from battles over garbage in the canals to the troubles with rehabbing Venetian real estate. She shares episodes from her life in Venice, explores her love of opera, and recounts tales from in and around her country house in the mountains. With pointed observations and humor, she also explores her family history and former life in New Jersey, and the idea of the Italian man.
"Best known for her Venetian mystery series featuring Commissario Guido Brunetti (The Golden Egg, etc.), Leon turns to real life with this engaging yet overstuffed essay collection on everything from her adopted city to animals. Divided into six sections On Venice, On Music, On Mankind and Animals, On Men, On America, and On Books Leon muses, reminisces, and often complains about her Italian home of more than 30 years. While Venice isn't associated with cleanliness, Leon makes it clear just how dirty the city is in the bluntly titled 'Garbage' and 'Shit' (the latter of the canine variety). But in the titular essay, it's clear also that she loves the community feel and unforced camaraderie of her neighborhood, where the city's lack of cars means citizens are 'forced to walk forced to meet.' A music aficionado, with a particular penchant for the underappreciated Handel, Leon makes the arias and orchestrations come alive in 'On Beauty and Freedom in the Opera' and 'Confessions of an American Handel Junkie.' Originally from New Jersey, though she's lived and taught in locations as varied as Saudi Arabia and China, Leon takes her native country to task on issues of obesity ('Fatties'), the Manhattan male ('The New York Man'), and fear ('The United States of Paranoia'). With most of the essays running no longer than three or four pages, the volume leans a bit too much on the side of quantity (there are 55 essays), but Leon's distinctive voice is reason enough to power through." Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
Engaging. . . . Leon muses, reminisces, and often complains about her Italian home of more than 30 years. . . . But in the titular essay, its clear also that she loves the community feel and unforced camaraderie of her neighborhood.” —Publishers Weekly
Leon . . . takes both loving and jaundiced looks at Italy and the United States, music, men and many other subjects in My Venice
.”New York Times Book Review
Entertaining [and] unapologetically opinionated.”New York Times
Cheerfully opinionated. . . . An intriguing glimpse at the strong views of an exceptionally interesting and entertaining novelist.”Seattle Times
So keenly observed that they almost make me homesick for a city Ive only visited . . . [Leons essays] have the kind of friendly intimacy of a letter from a friend far away”Boston Globe
Donna Leon is . . . a practiced writer of sharply observed commentary. . . . Leon clearly loves her adopted city, but she is not so pie-eyed as to overlookand report to often hilarious effectits idiosyncratic imperfections. . . . Savoring these short and engaging pieces is akin to sharing a latte at a Venetian café with an entertaining, opinionated, intelligent friend.”BookPage
Well known as the author of the Commissario Guido Brunetti mystery novels, American Donna Leon has lived in Venice for 30 years and knows its vagaries and delights in and out. The essays in My Venice are filled with her pointed observations, humor and insight. . . . Leon's great intelligence and wit come through in every one. . . . A lively collection.”Shelf Awareness
Leon . . . is literate, witty and contentious, with a ready sense of humor and an eye for the absurd. Id love to have a cappuccino with her.”Kathy Weissman, Bookreporter.com
Engaging. . . . Leon muses, reminisces, and often complains about her Italian home of more than 30 years. . . . But in the titular essay, its clear also that she loves the community feel and unforced camaraderie of her neighborhood.”Publishers Weekly
[Leon] never fails to explore the periphery of her topic, deepening her theme and giving it context and nuance.”Booklist
Absorbing. . . . My Venice and Other Essays . . . provide[s] morsels of wit and sharp observations.”New York Journal of Books
About the Author
Donna Leon is the author of the international best-selling Commissario Guido Brunetti series. The winner of the CWA Macallan Silver Dagger for Fiction, among other awards, Leon was born in New Jersey and has lived in Venice for thirty years.