The City of Falling Angels
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Twelve years ago, Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil exploded into a monumental success, residing a record-breaking four years on the New York Times bestseller list (longer than any work of fiction or nonfiction had before) and turning John Berendt into a household name. The City of Falling Angels is Berendt's first book since Midnight, and it immediately reminds one what all the fuss was about. Turning to the magic, mystery, and decadence of Venice, Berendt gradually reveals the truth behind a sensational fire that in 1996 destroyed the historic Fenice opera house. Encountering a rich cast of characters, Berendt tells a tale full of atmosphere and surprise as the stories build, one after the other, ultimately coming together to portray a world as finely drawn as a still-life painting.
they arrived at his house a little after nine o’clock. This would have made it impossible for them to have reached the Lido by nine-fifteen, as they had claimed. Casson now estimated that it was not until ten o’clock that Carella and Marchetti had left for the Lido, where Carella claimed he had received the call telling him about the fire. “By the time they were crossing the lagoon on the way to the Lido,” said Casson, “the sky was all lit up. How could they not have known about the fire?”
Instead he became an acolyte of the Anglican priest who presided over the American Church in Florence, and when the priest was reassigned to Venice to establish an English church there, Peter came with him, met Rose, fell in love, and married her. By the time he arrived in Venice, Peter bore little resemblance to the boy from Oak Park, Illinois. He had re-created himself, and he was disarmingly candid about it. “My father never understood why anybody would pick up and move to Italy. Italy of all
one I knew had ever been inside the walls. It was only a three-minute ride to the Giudecca on the vaporetto, that clanging, groaning water bus with a flat roof over an open foredeck that bears an odd resemblance to Humphrey Bogart’s river-boat in The African Queen. On this occasion, our vaporetto was met at the landing platform by a uniformed conductor who guided it to the dock with an extravagant waving of arms and excited instructions to the pilot: “Come forward a bit! Now back up! A little
February, they had decided the fire had been caused by a combination of accident and negligence. Now it was June, and they had come to the conclusion it was arson. “Why shouldn’t I be surprised?” I said. “Months ago they ruled out arson with ‘near-mathematical certainty.’ Have you been sure all along it was arson?” “No, and I’m not even so sure now,” said De Luigi. “But it was inevitable that someone would be accused of arson. I knew it would happen as soon as Casson said he was going to
realize,” he said, “that the Venetian Republic never really died. When Napoleon’s army was approaching in 1797, the Grand Council voted in a panic to dissolve the republic. But the vote was illegal, because there were not enough people in the council chamber to make a quorum. Napoleon’s savage and despicable occupation of Venice was only a military operation, and the Austrian occupation that followed was, again, nothing more than a military holding action. The unification of Italy in the