Sunday, March 26, 2006


Berendt's book will make you fall in love with the intrigue of Venice. He arrives just as the world-famous Fenice opera house is burning to the ground and decides to stay for several years. Through the course of Berendt's time in Venice we meet several ex-pats who have also made the canal city their home.

Woody Allen had been scheduled to play a jazz concert at the Fenice and instead plays a benefit to raise funds for its reconstruction but not before he is charged with trespassing in the company of the mayor.

Ezra Pound's longtime mistress, Olga Rudge (a violinist and Vivaldi expert) dies at 101, but not before her "friends" the Rylands who run the Guggenheim museum try to set up an Ezra Pound Foundation and convince her to sell all of his papers to them for $7000--a pittance when a few years later his private book collection of first editions signed by most of the authors sells for
$1 000 000.

Then there is the famous Murano glassblower who tries to recapture the night of flames in a limited edition of vases--still contested as his estate remains unsettled years after his death because of a family feud between his sons, the heirs.

Berendt's book is as intriguing as his billet-doux to Savannah: MIDNIGHT IN THE GARDEN OF GOOD AND EVIL. And, it is rife with a cast of memorable real life characters.

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