35 Book Reviews submitted by our Members...sorted by voted most helpful
Heather reviewed City of Falling Angels (Random House Large Print) on
Helpful Score: 3
I love the style this book is written in, You learn not only about the Fenice Opera house Fire ,Which Archimede Seguso master glass blower watched from his window and produced what is said to be his finest collection ever bowls and vases and such all black with orange ,red,and purple swirls a collection of over 100 pieces. This book is about all things venetian, History customs social stratus , The subtleties of going about things without offending.Last but not least a cast of players ranging from The everyday person to high society with tons of assorted important titles.If you loved "Midnight In The Garden Of Good And Evil" You will adore this book,Rich in history and intrigue. I actually read it in two days because I was mesmerized by Venice and all things venetian.
What a fantastic read! John Berendt does an excelent job weaving in the quirky characters of Venice amidst a terrible tragedy of the loss of the Fenice Opera House. His descrptions and moments with the people of Venice, both the American ex-patriates and the Venetians, were at once hilarious and incredibly moving. I love his writing and highly recommnd for anyone -- it will make you want to move to Venice...
Not as stunning as "Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil" but maybe my expectations were too high. The setting was fascinating and Berendt did a good job of making me feel like I was in Venice, but the story just went nowhere. No plot. Good enough to read though.
I'm a fan of Berendt's because of Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil but this one didn't grab my attention the same way. The book is presented as a story of the burning of the Fenice Opera House but that subject was talked about in less than half the book. The majority was spent on disconnected short stories about the people of Venice. Don't get me wrong, they were interesting stories of very colorful characters but Berendt failed to weave it all together around the central theme as well as he did in Midnight. Most of the stories were of people who had very little or no involvement with the Fenice. I enjoyed the stories but am glad I found it on clearance for $7!
Benendts next foray after Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil takes him to Venice. His account begins with a synopsis of the inferno that destroyed La Fenicethe centuries old opera house. What follows is a twisted tale of malfeasance, misconduct, incompetence, criminal negligence, political maneuvering, and what I would call the Shylock syndrome. Betwix the scenario of the fire we learn more than we wish to know about the citys history, particularly that of its resident aristocracy and their quasi-legal scheming. This book failed to hold my interest when it floated away from the La Fenice scenario; in fact, I found it downright boring at times. Judge for yourself!
Lots of reserach makes this tale of intrigue and history even stronger. Venice is unique in many ways and this book touches on some of the people whose unusual lives reflect the essence of the complex city. Highly recommended.
Debby B. (debbyb) reviewed City of Falling Angels (Random House Large Print) on
Helpful Score: 1
I'm thoroughly enjoying reading this book. I requested it assuming it was a novel, since I really liked Berendt's novel "Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil". But, this one is non-fiction, an account of what the author discovers about Venice, Italy. The impetus for him to get involved was a fire that destroyed the La Fenice opera house in 1996. He goes into great detail about the circumstances of the fire, but gets to know all kinds of fascinating people and history in the process. It reads like a novel, but I keep running into references that link to people and places I know about. Lots of fun.
Shannon K. (peche) reviewed City of Falling Angels (Random House Large Print) on
Helpful Score: 1
This book begins in the same vein as "Midnight" but finally reveals itself as a disjointed account of several vastly unrelated scandals in Venice, both past and (at the time of publication) present. The author gives the impression of having chased down every possible party to the scandals in order to produce a book.
That being said, the descriptions of Venice, it's neighborhoods (if they can be called something so humble) and historical treasures are lyrical. It's a pity that they are so often simply used as a backdrop for a character or another shabby story.
Another true mystery story by John Berendt, the author of Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil. This story centers around the burning of the Fenice Theater in Venice, Italy. It reads like "lifestyles of the rich and famous."
I picked this up because I liked Berendt earlier book (Midnight in the Garden...) and love Vencie. I did not like it as much as Midnight in the Garden of Good & Evil. The story seems to move slowly, many characters to keep track of and the book just seems to end. There is (and isn't) a conclusion to the events of the story. I understand the book and how the author presented it, just wasn't my favorite.
In the tradition of his bestselling "Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil." This time Berendt writes of Venice, as city filled with masks, mystery and a series of riddles. Once again the book weaves stories of the city and the people into an atmospheric tale of magical decadence.
As in Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil, Berendt immerses himself into a small slice of life in a city that is just as much a character as any person in the book. Arriving in Venice days after a fire destroyed the world-famous local opera house, Berendt introduces you to many of the local inhabitants, taking you into their stories and giving you a flavorful taste of Venetian life. Although the destruction and rebuilding of the opera house are the central theme throughout the book, there is no central plot, but rather a weaving together of various stories of people he encounters. Informative and gossipy, the stories grab your attention and leave you wanting to visit Venice - or maybe not. I usually avoid books read by the author but, in this case, the author narration is a plus. Really enjoyed the book and recommend.
This book was pretty good, though not as good as "Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil." Berendt does a good job of making a story out of Venice high society and the burning of the Fenice Opera House, which to me, COULD be as dry as stale toast. But he makes it pretty interesting.
This is an excellent book. I enjoyed it very much. It combines the history of Venice along with current events. If you have ever visited Venice or plan to visit Venice this book gives you interesting facts. I recommend this book.