The City of Falling Angels

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Penguin Press, 2005 - Travel - 414 pages
761 Reviews
The author of Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil returns after more than a decade to give us an intimate look at the "magic, mystery, and decadence" of the city of Venice and its inhabitants

It was seven years ago that Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil achieved a record-breaking four-year run on The New York Times bestseller list. John Berendt's inimitable brand of nonfiction brought the dark mystique of Savannah so startlingly to life for millions of people that tourism to Savannah increased by 46 percent. It is Berendt and only Berendt who can capture Venice-a city of masks, a city of riddles, where the narrow, meandering passageways form a giant maze, confounding all who have not grown up wandering into its depths. Venice, a city steeped in a thousand years of history, art and architecture, teeters in precarious balance between endurance and decay. Its architectural treasures crumble--foundations shift, marble ornaments fall--even as efforts to preserve them are underway. The City of Falling Angels opens on the evening of January 29, 1996, when a dramatic fire destroys the historic Fenice opera house. The loss of the Fenice, where five of Verdi's operas premiered, is a catastrophe for Venetians. Arriving in Venice three days after the fire, Berendt becomes a kind of detective-inquiring into the nature of life in this remarkable museum-city-while gradually revealing the truth about the fire. In the course of his investigations, Berendt introduces us to a rich cast of characters: a prominent Venetian poet whose shocking "suicide" prompts his skeptical friends to pursue a murder suspect on their own; the first family of American expatriates that loses possession of the family palace after four generations of ownership; an organization of high-society, partygoing Americans who raise money to preserve the art and architecture of Venice, while quarreling in public among themselves, questioning one another's motives and drawing startled Venetians into the fray; a contemporary Venetian surrealist painter and outrageous provocateur; the master glassblower of Venice; and numerous others-stool pigeons, scapegoats, hustlers, sleepwalkers, believers in Martians, the Plant Man, the Rat Man, and Henry James.

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Love his writing style. - Goodreads
Life's too short for bad prose! - Goodreads
Fascinating, well crafted, page turner. - Goodreads
Good insight into Venice life today. - Goodreads
Only thing I did not like was the ending. - Goodreads
This book speeds along and is easy to read. - Goodreads
User Review - Flag as inappropriate

I was somewhat disappointed in that I thought that this was a book about the fire at La Fenice and its aftermath, whereas it's really about the authors adventures in Venice when he comes to stay immediately after the fire. Part of the book does in fact relate to La Fenice, but only a relatively small part. 

Review: The City of Falling Angels

User Review  - Randy Johnson - Goodreads

Not a whodunit, exactly, more an extended musing on Venice, Venetians, and the death and rebirth of an opera house. Thoroughly enjoyable, though nothing in it will blow you away. Read full review

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Contents

THE VENICE EFFECT
1
DUST S ASHES
33
AT WATER LEVEL
49
Copyright

14 other sections not shown

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About the author (2005)

John Berendt was born in New York in 1939 and graduated from Harvard University in 1961. While at Harvard, he was on the editorial board of the Harvard Lampoon. From 1961 to 1969, he was an associate editor at Esquire and later wrote for David Frost and Dick Cavett. Berendt served as editor of New York magazine from 1977 to 1979 and wrote a monthly column for Esquire from 1982 to 1994. Berendt's first book, Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil, was published in 1994 to great acclaim and was nominated for the Pulitzer Prize.

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