I've just started to read Ascension
by Gregory Dowling, mentioned just before Christmas, and it's
started with one of the most intriguing and encouraging first
chapters I've read in a long time. Add to that my discovery
that Tonya Macalino has written a sequel to
Faces in the Water,
which I liked a lot, called Stealing Lucifer's Dreams,
and of a similarly fantastical novel called The Serpent,
the first in something called the Gameshouse series by Claire
North, and we have a winter of juicy Venice reads in prospect.
In these deadish
days as real life slowly starts up again surprises are even
more welcome than usual. Through the letter box this morning
came a very good one.
Jones & Sawers'
M a p o f
L O N D O N
It's a wacky idea most
calligraphically tastefully realised - a folding map of London
where streets and parks and buildings are labelled with the
books that mention them. It comes courtesy of
today's trip into town, for example, I started out with
Dracula and Piccadilly Jim, through Vile Bodies,
Possession and A Society, where I took some library
books back; then through The Greek Interpreter and
The Drowned World to The Well of Loneliness, where
I bought a cake. The back of the map lists all the books with
the relevant sentences. It also lists 8 'useful and
interesting' related websites including...well I said it was a
morning for nice surprises.
It's a new year! And tomorrow
normality returns after the gruelling and dingy grey break.
And with the new year comes news of the new Donna Leon
Brunetti novel. It's called The Waters of Eternal Youth,
and so an unusual non-cliché-derived title. It concerns a cold
case resurrected by Brunetti following pleas from a Contessa
friend of his wife's mother. Her daughter nearly drowned 15
years ago, saved but suffering brain damage that sees her
still mentally a teenager. Brunetti's discoveries are
described as dark and murky, you won't be surprised to learn.
Sounds juicy though. Out in April.
For my festive round up of my
the best things I read and listened to see the
I've only read (and reviewed)
six novels set in Venice this year. This is partly due to
changing enthusiasms, but also the fact that this low number
hasn't meant I've missed much. But Ascension by Gregory
Dowling has just been brought to my attention, and it looks
tempting. A review copy has been requested, so expect a review
in the new year. Meanwhile 2015 is ending on something of a
Florence fest, of films
(mostly in black and white and starring Marcello Mastroianni), a Penelope Fitgerald
novel suddenly discovered and some hefty text and plush
pictures in a lovable large
book on art in Florence.
As far as
celebrity endorsements go there's no beating an uncompromising
religious fanatic dead these 500 years. Savonarola surely had
the future creation of this very website in mind when, in a
sermon of the 1490s, he urged the citizens of Florence to call
to mind the beauty of Florence and maintained that this mental
image would be more beautiful than the real thing, and that
spiritual enlightenment would thereby result. This could well
be my mission statement.
more news here
Claire North The Serpent:
Gameshouse 1 Venice
The Masked City Venice
Dove vai in
Nudo di Donna
Sleeping Embers of
an Ordinary Mind
The Anonymous Venetian
di Poveri Amanti
Ross King and Anja Grebe
Florence: The Paintings &
Funeral in Berlin
The Seven Noses of Soho
The Painter of Souls
Jonathan Holt The Carnivia Trilogy: 2.
Hannibal - the TV series
The Merchants of Light
Falling in Love
The Invisible Library
Timothy Holme Funeral of
C.J. Sansom The Shardlake series
Alms For Oblivion series
The above two series' entries
will be getting regular updates as the months pass.