Table of Contents
The City of Falling Angels
by John Berendt
Voted one of the Best Books of the Year by
The Boston Globe, The Washington Post,
Chicago Tribune, Detroit Free-Press, Rocky Mountain News,
The Baltimore Sun, The Salt Lake Tribune
“Surely as he arrived in Venice, Berendt was . . . looking for something to write about, something that would not be a letdown for him or his readers after the incredible success of
. Not to keep you in suspense: He found it. . . . [T]he story of the Fenice fire and its aftermath is exceptionally interesting, the cast of characters is suitably various and flamboyant, and Berendt’s prose, now as then, is precise, evocative and witty.”—Jonathan Yardley,
The Washington Post
“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. . . . [H]e delivers an urbane, beautifully fashioned book with much exotic charm.”
The New York Times
“An intriguing tour of mysterious Venice and its most fascinating residents. . . . Venice may be sinking, but in Berendt’s capable hands, the city has never seemed more colorful, perplexing and alluring . . . an engaging journey in which the author navigates Venice’s shadowy politics, its tangled bureaucracy and its elegant high-society nightlife with a discerning, sanguine touch.”
“John Berendt once again captures the marvelous seamy side of midnight society.”—
“In Berendt’s hands, the reader comes to know the city as an almost organic thing—an ancient creature . . . bearing generations of Venetians.”
The Buffalo News
“Berendt has given us something uniquely different. . . . Thanks to [his] splendid city-portrait, even those of us far from Venice can marvel.”
The Wall Street Journal
“I cannot stop haunting travel Web sites in search of cheap fares to Italy.
is that good. . . . Berendt proves himself to be a masterful writer. . . . [He] crafts a lean and elegant narrative. . . . Berendt is that rare writer devoured by millions.”—
“This is a book to carry you away . . . a haunting book.”
“Fascinating . . . [T]here’s been a lot of talk about the art of the nonfiction ‘novel,’ a literary form credited to Truman [Capote]. These days we have Mr. Berendt. . . . This tale of the glamorous, fetid, mythic, schizophrenic slowly sinking city on the Adriatic Sea—along with its evasive denizens—makes for a hypnotic read. Berendt is the best at what he does.”—Liz Smith,
New York Post
“If Berendt seems unusually calm for all the expectations placed on
The City of Falling Angels
, it is perhaps because he has written a book better than his first: a kaleidoscopic, vibrant, deeply human portrait of Venice, Italy, and, more specifically, the people who live there—poets, arsonists, poison makers, glass blowers, questionable ex-pats, performance artists. It is a detective story, a book of puzzles, a comic tale of sorrow, a poignant narrative of absurdity. . . . The book, like its author, crackles with life, color, and passion.”
“As refreshing as a chilly Bellini on a humid afternoon,
The City of Falling Angels
captures Venice’s inhabitants and intrigues through a series of sharp, well-defined sketches and explores the amusing stink of its bureaucratic corruption, high society skirmishes and daring artistic feats. Berendt immerses us deeply in the city’s culture and we emerge sputtering and thrilled.”
The Miami Herald
“Both by happenstance and design, Berendt finds himself in an atmosphere rich with personalities, and he takes full advantage of them in crafting an elegant, and elegiac, narrative.”
St. Petersburg Times
“After Byron’s lascivious Venice, Henry James’s sepulchral Venice, and Thomas Mann’s sickly sweet Venice, is there room for yet another exhumation of the city’s corpse? Mr. Berendt proves that there is ... [in this] fast-paced, entertaining narrative that serves up course after course of human folly.”—
The New York Sun
“How lucky we are to have John Berendt. . . . Venice is the gorgeous subject of [his] latest tour de force of social observation. . . . Lovers of
have waited twelve years for Berendt to offer another book, and I’m glad to say the wait has been worth it. . . . Berendt reports and writes so beautifully, so seamlessly, that a reader might think the work was easy.”—
Detroit Free Press
“Berendt is at his best when he writes about the internecine grudges and eccentricities of Venice’s movers and shakers.”
“Berendt’s storytelling skills sparkle.”—
“In documenting the Fenice fire and rebuilding, Berendt adds a necessary chapter to the literary oeuvre about Venice. No doubt both Venice lovers and Berendt fans will devour this book.”
“Berendt has worked hard to tie together not merely all the strands of a complicated story but also the various aspects of Venice . . . rarely seen by the tourists who swarm through the beautiful old city. His prose . . . is a pleasure to read.”
The Washington Post Book World
“This is journalism at its most accomplished; it is creative nonfiction as enveloping and heart embracing as good fiction.”—
“Once again Berendt proves himself a stylist with an uncanny talent for holding reader interest.”—
“Richly atmospheric, entertaining and informative.”
The Sunday Times
“Berendt delivers yet another book so readable the pages almost seem to turn themselves.”—
Rocky Mountain News
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
has been a columnist for
, the editor of
magazine, and the author of
Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil,
which was a finalist for the 1995 Pulitzer Prize in general nonfiction. He lives in New York.
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First published in the United States of America by The Penguin Press,
a member of Penguin Group (USA) Inc. 2005
Published in Penguin Books 2006
Copyright © High Water, Incorporated, 2005
All rights reserved
Grateful acknowledgment is made for permission to reprint the following selections:
“Fragment (1966)” from
The Cantos of Ezra Pound
by Ezra Pound.
Copyright © 1934, 1937, 1940, 1948, 1956, 1959, 1962, 1963, 1966, 1968 by Ezra Pound.
“Ciao Cara” from
Ezra Pound, Father and Teacher: Discretions
by Mary de Rachewiltz.
Copyright © 1971, 1975 by Mary de Rachewiltz.
Excerpt from the diary of Daniel Sargent Curtis. .
“Dear [Sir]” letter from Olga Rudge to lawyer, April 24, 1988.
“Dearest Mother” letter from Mary de Rachewiltz to her mother, Olga Rudge, February 24, 1988.
eISBN : 978-1-436-28735-7
1. Venice (Italy)—Description and travel. 2. Venice (Italy)—Social life and customs.
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For Harold Hayes and Clay Felker
BEWARE OF FALLING ANGELS
—Sign posted outside the Santa Maria della Salute Church in Venice in the early 1970s, before restoration of its marble ornaments