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All art is unstable. It's meaning is not necessarily that implied by the author, There is no authorative active voice. There are only multiple readings. David Bowie, 1995

Monday, December 2, 2013

Charmingly quixotic! Piercingly insightful!

My Venice and Other Essays by Donna Leon

What a delightful group of essays! Witty, sometimes hilarious, often self deprecating, always with an brilliant edge. Nothing is off the table. The conversation cuts a wide swathe through life in all it's complexities.
Donna Leon brings Venice alive. Through the eyes of both an inhabitant and an expat we taste the puzzling differences and laugh at the idiosyncrasies, and the similarities.  

I really identified with her piece about buying her villa! Sweeping in, being mesmerized by the view, but blind to the detrimental structure of the building. Ah, Bellissimo! Swept up by the view and the ambience, forgetting about the plumbing, the flooding roof and and collapsing walls. For Leon, 'it was love at first sight, and not for the first time, was to prove [her] ruin.'
Each essay is a little gem and tells us something about Italians and Venice that as tourists we would never discover for ourselves. I must admit there are some moments when I felt positively guilty about being a tourist in Venice.
But Venice is only the beginning. Leon pulls no punches when she talks about male female relationships in Italy. Her dismay about attitudes is palpable. 
We journey to the United States and New Jersey with equal vigour. Certainly the streets and the people spring to life in all places. Life viewed through Donna Leon's eyes is certainly a grand experience.
Grazie tanto! Ms. Leon.

A NetGalley ARC

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