Synopses & Reviews
One of Italy’s brightest literary lights reinvents travel writing with a seductive, intoxicating celebration of the magical saltwater city
“Venice is a fish,” writes Tiziano Scarpa. “It’s like a vast sole stretched out against the deep. How did this marvelous beast make its way up the Adriatic and fetch up here, of all places?” Paying homage to his native city in a lyrical and evocative style, he guides readers down tiny alleys, over bridges, and through squares, daring us to lose ourselves, forget the guidebooks, and experience Venice as Venetians do.
Venice Is a Fish provides no hotel ratings or museum hours. Instead, in a delightful initiation, Scarpa tells us how to balance while standing on a gondola; where lovers will find the best secret hiding places; the finer points of etiquette and navigation during an agua alta; and how best to defend ourselves from the pitiless beauty of one of the world’s most stimulating cities. Open Venice Is a Fish, and Scarpa’s magnificent images, secret history, and hidden lore unfold like a treasure map of the senses.
"Prolific Venetian writer Scarpa pledges not 'to name a single hotel, restaurant, bar or shop' in this delicate yet supple book, a chain of linked and sensuously translated essays about the one of the world's most unusual and historical cities. He focuses each chapter of his tour through different parts of the body. He begins with the feet before moving up to the legs and heart. The translation renders even the most basic descriptions wonderfully tactile. Only eventually does Scarpa move on to the more obvious sights, sounds, tastes and smells. The main text is just over a hundred pages, but a 40-page coda takes it into the lit-crit realm by way of a 'micro-anthology of Venetian texts' that includes samplings from the author's other works. Scarpa is better known in Italy than America, but that could change with this brief book, which captures Venice as only words and language on the tongue of a native can." Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
Venice is a Fish
is a gorgeous tribute to one of the strangest and most beautiful cities on Earth. Was it Henry James or Mary McCarthy who said, 'There is nothing new to say about Venice?" Tiziano Scarpa has proved them both wrong.
For as long as Venice has existed, people have been writing about her, yet Tiziano Scarpa brings a remarkable freshness to his lively descriptions and explanations of the essence of Venice.
-Jane da Mosto, co-author of The Science of Saving Venice
Scarpas approach is from the soul, not the mind. [This book] says more about Venice than youd ever imagine.
-Independent on Sunday (UK)
Plenty of practical advice to steer a tourist through the city, and fascinating insights into its customs and history
a lovely introduction to a magical city.
-Sunday Express (UK)
A splendidly fishy guide to Venice from a witty and imaginative writer. To write originally about Venice must be one of the greatest challenges a writer can take up. Every year, hundreds of books on the city are published, but none resembles this one.
A beautifully written book with one of the most refreshing insights into Venice that has ever been published. Youll be gripped from the first line
This is a very unsettling guide to Venice. It contains the addresses of no museums, hotels or restaurants. In Venice is a Fish, the author invites the reader to partake in sensual experiences that will enable her to discover the most intimate facets of the city. It's a funny initiation ceremony where one learns how to stand on a gondola, to cross barefoot muddy canals and caress eyes shut the faces of statues. Tiziano Scarpa's intelligence is a delight. Using stylistic audacity and literary remixes, he carries off an ambitious intellectual enterprise.
"A short, wonderful ode to the city. To touch it, feel it, describe it in all its bends and angles, to caress the myth, this is the aim of the writer. He ends his stroll in the 'Venetian langour' with these words that constitute a declaration of love: 'There is no better place than this one." -Le Figaro
One of Italy's brightest literary talents reinvents travel writing with a seductive, intoxicating celebration of the magical saltwater city.
About the Author
Tiziano Scarpa is a poet, novelist, playwright, essayist, and a winner of the Italia Prize. He is a native Venetian.