Tuesday, October 04, 2005

The City of Falling Angels

It must be difficult to write a book following the success of one that remained on the bestseller lists for four years. John Berendt, author of Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil, moves to Venice, Italy in The City of Falling Angels. However, Venice does not come to life as Savannah did in the previous book.

On Jan. 29, 1996, the Fenice Opera House in Venice burned down. Was it negligence, arson, an accident that caused the fire? Everyone in Venice has an opinion. Berendt searches out the people who witnessed or were affected by the fire in order to find a focal point for his story. The city is populated with fascinating characters, but neither the fire nor the characters carry this story forward. By the time the reader finishes, there's little more interest in the city or the people of the city.

1 comment:

Antique Mommy said...

I liked this book, but I hadn't read his previous block buster book, so I didn't have any expectations. If you are looking for a traditional read where each chapter builds on the previous and knits a plot together, this isn't the book for you. It's really an opera in itself (like the Fenice) with it's larger-than-life characters and disjointed vignettes that don't connect very well at the end (which is one reason I don't love opera). Would I read this book again? Probably not. Would I recommend it? Only to a few friends who have been to Venice and have an interest in art history. This book will be discussed at book club tonight and I have the feeling it will get thumbs down from all but two of us!