The city of falling angels : a Venice story by John Berendt

    Review by: Linda J.

Title:  The city of falling angels : a Venice story

Author:  John Berendt

Collection:  Adult Fiction

I picked this book up because I liked John Berendt’s previous book ‘Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil’.  In ‘City of Falling Angels’, another non-fiction book, he travels to Venice to explore the inner workings of this romantic Italian city.  The title refers to the fact that so many historic buildings are slowly disintegrating that one church put up a sign stating; ‘Beware of falling angels’.  Shortly before he arrived in Venice in 1996, a fire destroyed the historic La Fenice opera house.  Berendt puts this event in the center of his story.  We meet many of the citizens of Venice from members of old families that go back hundreds of years to former Americans who have only been in residence for a few decades.  As I read this book, I used Google to look up images of places and people Berendt wrote about.  I saw photos of the palaces and the art that he described so well.  Venetians can be very private people, but most of them opened up their homes and spoke to Berendt candidly.  He lived as a native for months and we get an idea of what it is like in the city of canals.  In the end the opera house is rebuilt out of the ashes, which is appropriate because La Fenice translates into the Phoenix.   If you choose to read this book, keep Google handy….the pictures add another dimension!

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