My Venice And Other Essays

Review

"Engaging. . . . Leon muses, reminisces, and often complains about her Italian home of more than 30 years. . . . But in the titular essay, it's clear also that she loves the community feel and unforced camaraderie of her neighborhood." --"Publishers Weekly"



"Well known as the author of the Commissario Guido Brunetti mystery novels, American Donna Leon has lived in Venice for 30 years and knows its vagaries and delights in and out. The essays in "My Venice" are filled with her pointed observations, humor and insight. . . . Leon's great intelligence and wit come through in every one. . . . A lively collection."--Shelf Awareness

"Engaging. . . . Leon muses, reminisces, and often complains about her Italian home of more than 30 years. . . . But in the titular essay, it's clear also that she loves the community feel and unforced camaraderie of her neighborhood." --"Publishers Weekly"

"[Leon] never fails to explore the periphery of her topic, deepening her theme and giving it context and nuance."--"Booklist"

"Leon . . . takes both loving and jaundiced looks at Italy and the United States, music, men and many other subjects in My Venice."--New York Times Book Review

"Entertaining [and] unapologetically opinionated."--New York Times"Cheerfully opinionated. . . . An intriguing glimpse at the strong views of an exceptionally interesting and entertaining novelist."--Seattle Times"So keenly observed that they almost make me homesick for a city I've only visited . . . [Leon's essays] have the kind of friendly intimacy of a letter from a friend far away"--Boston Globe"Donna Leon is . . . a practiced writer of sharply observed commentary. . . . Leon clearly loves her adopted city, but she is not so pie-eyed as to overlook--and report to often hilarious effect--its idiosyncratic imperfections. . . . Savoring these short and engaging pieces is akin to sharing a latte at a Venetian cafe with an entertaining, opinionated, intelligent friend."--BookPage"Well known as the author of the Commissario Guido Brunetti mystery novels, American Donna Leon has lived in Venice for 30 years and knows its vagaries and delights in and out. The essays in My Venice are filled with her pointed observations, humor and insight. . . . Leon's great intelligence and wit come through in every one. . . . A lively collection."--Shelf Awareness "Leon . . . is literate, witty and contentious, with a ready sense of humor and an eye for the absurd. I'd love to have a cappuccino with her."--Kathy Weissman, Bookreporter.com "Engaging. . . . Leon muses, reminisces, and often complains about her Italian home of more than 30 years. . . . But in the titular essay, it's clear also that she loves the community feel and unforced camaraderie of her neighborhood."--Publishers Weekly"[Leon] never fails to explore the periphery of her topic, deepening her theme and giving it context and nuance."--Booklist"Absorbing. . . . My Venice and Other Essays . . . provide[s] morsels of wit and sharp observations."--New York Journal of Books

About the Author

Donna Leon is the author of the international best-selling Commissario Guido Brunetti series. The winner of the CWA Macallan Silver Dagger for Fiction, among other awards, Leon was born in New Jersey and has lived in Venice for thirty years.

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My Venice and Other Essays

Donna Leon. Grove/Atlantic, $26 (240p) ISBN 978-0-8021-2036-6
Best known for her Venetian mystery series featuring Commissario Guido Brunetti (The Golden Egg, etc.), Leon turns to real life with this engaging yet overstuffed essay collection on everything from her adopted city to animals. Divided into six sections—On Venice, On Music, On Mankind and Animals, On Men, On America, and On Books—Leon muses, reminisces, and often complains about her Italian home of more than 30 years. While Venice isn’t associated with cleanliness, Leon makes it clear just how dirty the city is in the bluntly titled “Garbage” and “Shit” (the latter of the canine variety). But in the titular essay, it’s clear also that she loves the community feel and unforced camaraderie of her neighborhood, where the city’s lack of cars means citizens are “forced to walk [and] forced to meet.” A music aficionado, with a particular penchant for the underappreciated Handel, Leon makes the arias and orchestrations come alive in “On Beauty and Freedom in the Opera” and “Confessions of an American Handel Junkie.” Originally from New Jersey, though she’s lived and taught in locations as varied as Saudi Arabia and China, Leon takes her native country to task on issues of obesity (“Fatties”), the Manhattan male (“The New York Man”), and fear (“The United States of Paranoia”). With most of the essays running no longer than three or four pages, the volume leans a bit too much on the side of quantity (there are 55 essays), but Leon’s distinctive voice is reason enough to power through. (Dec.)
Reviewed on: 07/08/2013
Release date: 12/01/2013
Paperback - 222 pages - 978-0-8021-2280-3
Hardcover - 337 pages - 978-1-4104-6723-2

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