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Thursday, 21 June 2012

Venice and Varanasi - 2 novellas in one

We are always on the lookout for new books set in locations to feature on our site - and we are grateful to receive review copies from publishers and authors, and suggestions from around the world - and sometimes we come across truly memorable books. This is one of them!

A single book, two novellas. Why Venice and Varanasi in one book? Both cities start with "V"  (as a good a starting point as any...) and have in common "Tiny lanes, crumbling old palaces, the water....." In this book the locations are the real stars, Venice and Varanasi are beautifully brought to life and whether you are accompanying Jeff along a Venice Canal, or visiting a Ghat in the second novella, the reader is just drawn into another world.

Giorgione's"The Tempest"

The first  novella is set in Venice and features Jeff, a journalist who embarks on a passionate affair with Laura from the States, during the Venice Biennale (it includes scenes of a sexual nature!). Jeff has certainly got the TripFiction idea, he gens up on Venice by reading Mary McCarthy's Venice Observed and having enjoyed her description of Giorgione's painting "The Tempest" sets out to find it. The dark canals, the heat, the little campi and calli all star in this well written book.

Varanasi (or Benares) is the setting for the second part of the book and the narrator guides us through time spent in the city, his observations of the different ghats ("walking along the ghats is like going on safari"), the friends he makes, and the frenzy of  daily life for most of the inhabitants (but not all). The pulsating, noisy and colourful city simply lifts off the pages as if the reader were there too.  This is a city full of vibrancy and destitution and traffic and animal chaos - if you were to find yourself driving all you need is need a "Good horn, good brakes and good luck". This book is a pantheon of interesting events and experiences ....

The hotel which is featured appears to be real 

Hope you enjoy this book as much as we did!

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