billionaire collector Francois Pinault
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Searching for recent and forthcoming novels set in Venice got me a couple of possibles onto the Kindle amongst the self-published masses. Most of these don't make their way onto my list, which is becoming less blindly comprehensive now - I'm no masochist, but maybe if I was it would make me more likely to read some of the numerous BDSM novels set in Venice that have been published recently. Next year's release of the 50 Shades of Grey film will presumably do nothing to staunch this flow.
In less spanky news, I was happy to get an email from Edward Sklepowich last week informing me that his excellent Venice-set Urbino Macintyre series is being republished as ebooks by Mysterious Press later this month. He also tells me that although he is working on a new novel in the series he is nearer completion of a mystery set in the old medina of Tunis during the early days of the revolution.
A downside of late-2014’s glut of new novels by big names (and personal faves) is that 2015 is looking like a lean year for new fiction. Maybe just in comparison, but I think not. We wait until March for Kazuo Ishiguro’s The Buried Giant, his first novel since Never Let Me Go ten years ago. It’s the story of a couple’s journey across post-Roman Britain and their encounters with ordinary people and strange creatures, it seems, and looks the best hope for something juicy and new before the Summer. Runner-up possibilities are provided by Sarah Hall, Daniel (Lemony Snicket) Handler, Kate Atkinson and Neal Stephenson. We Brunetti fans will be waiting with trepidation for Falling in Love in early April to see if Donna Leon can cast away the doubts engendered by the disappointing By Its Cover, and its seemingly ending many pages before its ending. But all of this is overshadowed by the UK General Election in the spring and the long build up to the new Star Wars film in December. (Enoch Powell removes his black helmet and says ‘Nigel, I am your father!’)
My year end festive bulletin and favourite books and
CDs of the year can be found on my news page HERE
Any Simon Raven fans out there? On my Venice page I've long had listed a book of his called The Survivors but I've only just discovered that this is the last in a 10-novel sequence called Alms for Oblivion, and that these novels are compared to Anthony Powell's Dance to the Music of Time series, as an equal! Spookily both series feature literary conferences in Venice late in their narratives. Looks to be a series in need of a read.
It is a cliché, though not one without foundation, that with advancing age comes a tendency to pessimism and cynicism. In my country extreme cases lead to the reading, and even the believing, of the Daily Mail newspaper and its depressing website. Now I pride myself on being a chap who naturally tends away from such negativity. However, following on from last year's worrying downer, the news that next year's (24th!) Brunetti novel features the return of the opera singer from the first, and that the plot involves a stalker does not fill me with anticipation of originality and the return of the spark. But we shall see - it's called Falling in Love and it's due in early April, of course.
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