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The Floating Book

3.42  ·  Rating Details  ·  398 Ratings  ·  46 Reviews
Venice, 1468. Wendelin von Speyer has just arrived from Germany with the foundations of a cultural revolution: Gutenberg's movable type. Together with the young editor Bruno Uguccione and the seductive scribe Felice Feliciano, he starts the city's first printing press. While Bruno and Felice become entwined in an obsessive love triangle with a beautiful Dalmatian woman nam ...more
Paperback, 490 pages
Published February 1st 2005 by Harper Perennial (first published 2003)
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Jan 07, 2008 Alyson rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Anyone looking for a spectacularly beautifully written piece of fiction.
Shelves: top-shelf-books
"I stood simmering, goose-skinned and wisp-tongued in the milk of the moonlight, until the douse of rain chased me into the prattlng shadows of the portico...I paced her name all the way home through ribbed curtains of water. Above me rose-colored lightning embroidered the drowning sky with hectic stitches.

Love is only worth what you pay for it, I told myself at the start."

Poetry in prose!!! Michelle Lovric chooses the most unexpected words to create completely original phrases. Her ability to i
Feb 01, 2009 Jody rated it it was ok
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Perhaps this is a lovely book and it just wasn't the right time for me to read it. It had the makings of a good book.

Now that I think about it, though, it didn't really. It had some characters with potentially engaging biographies and a great setting. But that's not enough to make a good book.

The epistolary style of the first chapter (and intermittent ones after that) was not well done and was painful to read. The two young male protagonists were written far too similarly even though they were
Juliet Wilson
Aug 16, 2010 Juliet Wilson rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: novels
The von Speyer brothers are German printers who have set up business in Venice. This novel follows their fortunes, through financial crisis, literary and religious scandal and plagues. The novel focusses on the drama around the printers' decision to publish the poetry of Catallus, who was considered to be highly controversial at the time.

The whole novel is filled with beautifully imagined historical detail and vivid characters including a thieving cat!
Elsa Ramos
Jun 22, 2015 Elsa Ramos rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Não posso dizer que Amei este Livro, mas o facto é que gostei bastante. Não me agarrou como Cola Super 3, mas quando passavam vários dias sem lhe pegar sentia Saudades de o Ler. Não estava mesmo nada à espera daquele Final para Sósia.
Barbara Scott-Emmett
Jul 05, 2014 Barbara Scott-Emmett rated it really liked it
This is a beautifully written book, full of poetic lines and sumptuous descriptions. The characters are individual and vibrant (though many of them aren't nice people) and Venice herself floats in and out of the mist to enchant the reader.

Real historical people mix with invented characters and we learn about the setting up of the printing press and the formulation of Latinate lettering (as opposed to the German Gothic typeface). Translations of Catullus' poetry head the chapters - and that's a b
Sep 09, 2008 K rated it did not like it
I have no idea why I won't admit I don't like this book since it's taking me months to read even halfway. But I persevere. Because I'm stupid.
Jennifer Mccann
Oct 26, 2012 Jennifer Mccann rated it did not like it
This book took me 3 months to read. It never takes me longer than a week to read anything. I hate giving up. Basically this book is about sex and love. But that is being too kind.

It just dragged on and on, and I wanted to smack various people. Sosia... a boorish whore who was bitter and embraced being a whore. It was so, "I'm a whore, deal with it, fuck you!" I just summed up Sosia's role for the entire book in a vulgar sentence.

Gentilia just an insane nun and weird character. Her only redeemin
Jan 26, 2011 Olgalijo rated it really liked it
"The Floating Book" mixes two stories in totally diferent time frames, that of the poet Catulus in ancient Roman times, and that of the main characters of the book during Venice's golden age. The devices by which the stories are bound are two: Catulus book of poetry, which is printed for the first time by one of the main characters, and a somewhat difficult to explain feminine doll that Catulus had made to represent his lover, and which ends in the hands of the printer's wife. Even though Catulu ...more
Catullus has met the unapologetic, lusty, cool-headed and cold-hearted Clodia, daughter of Appius, wife of Quintus Metellus. She makes an impression on him, even though he cannot make one on her. So he falls madly in love with her, as so many other wretches have done. Thus begins a story of love affairs, of lusty passions, of the slips, falls and tumbles made by people in ancient times and the “current” era of 1498.

Ms. Lovric brings both eras, ancient and newly new, into vivid life as she explo
Sudha Hamilton
Mar 03, 2012 Sudha Hamilton rated it liked it
A book full of historical knowledge and perhaps a little too dense with it to optimally tell its story. The more I persevered with it however the more I was seduced by it. Venice and its watery essence is well conveyed, as are the wonderful array of characters inhabiting this story.

I loved the contrasts between Italian culture and German, that the language of the book illustrated with such fecundity. The themes of the tale involve love, lust and the imbalance of these motivating forces within th
Charlou Lunsford
In 15th century Venice and the printing press has arrived. What does this mean to the city? How will books redefine them? The question becomes what to publish? What will sell? Censorship? Fonts? Paper? So then the first printed edition of the love poems of Catullus, a Roman poet from 63 B.C. Has what I like in historical fiction, lots of pages with tiny print. Complications. A great setting. Fun.

"I can be bothered to explain this far: books are life, for those of us who love them. It's not the
Lisa Dryer
Jun 17, 2010 Lisa Dryer rated it it was ok
I found this book frustrating. Due to the quality of the writing style I kept expecting more from the STORY itself, and thus, became more and more frustrated as I read. I really wanted to be seduced by this book. I fell in love with some of the characters to only be let down by the choices made by the author. I don't always expect everything to be neatly resolved for me in fiction (sometimes I really dislike that) but I really was let down by what many felt was the "operatic" quality of this sto ...more
My first DNC of the year. This is one of the first books I started in 2012, and 4 weeks later am just over half way through. I'm only reading the odd, short, chapter here and there and it's becoming a chore to read.

It's not a bad book - Venetian woman, married to a German printer in the 1400s when printing is just beginning to take off in Venice, and trying to publish a long forgotten Roman poet. It's told in many different "Voices" including that of the wife, the husband, the Roman poet. Throw
Freya Stewart
Nov 24, 2015 Freya Stewart rated it liked it
I would say that this is more a 2.5 than a three. I found this book hard to really get into, the plot it there but it isn't obvious, it may change point of view five times within a chapter and not ell you who it is so you spend the first few lines trying to figure it out. They talk of publishing the Catallus poems then they print them and nothing is heard about it until the last few chapters. This is a book about relationships more than it is about printing. That said it is a good plot idea and ...more
Jun 22, 2016 Foxx rated it really liked it
A beautifully written novel that braids togeather two very different times in history along with a dynamic cast of characters. Something in it for everyone to love, and hate.
Dec 03, 2007 Karen rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: anyone looking for an atmospheric read
This novel will likely be compared with Sarah Dunant's In the Company of the Courtesan often. It has a similar setting (Renaissance Venice, though not quite overlapping) and similarly evocative writing style.

There are two major things I enjoyed about this book--being plunged into Venice with great detail and emotion, and gushing over details of the early printed book trade. We are, after all, book nerds here.

Some of the multiple narrators didn't appeal to me, but overall the author used that te
Sandra Arthur
Feb 04, 2014 Sandra Arthur rated it it was amazing
Loved, loved, loved it darling! Seriously enjoyed this incredibly well written story. Set in my favourite city it was a great historical fiction adventure. Highly recommend.
Jonathan Stephenson
One of the wonderful things about Venice is that it is pretty much as it always was, so if you are at all familiar with the place it is easy to visualise and contextualise a historical novel that is set there. The fact that the storyline involves the early days of publishing and the cultural and technological exchange between Italy and northern Europe added to its appeal for me. The backdrop is the Renaissance and the rapid evolution of trade, art and communications.

The intertwined plots are als
Madeleine McLaughlin
May 04, 2015 Madeleine McLaughlin rated it really liked it
Beautiful prose and a lot of interesting characters bring this book about printing Catullus poetry in Venice circa 1470 to a fabulous, glorious life.
Apr 07, 2015 Diane rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
A beautifully written book, three stars for the work that went into it and the writing itself. However, it was just plain dull and difficult to read. I had a hard time getting through it.
May 19, 2015 Annalize rated it liked it
A story of a group of people who have one thing in common: Venice. In the background, the story of Catullus the poet in BC times. The story follows the characters through the opening of the first printing works by the Von Speyer brothers in 1468, and the difficulties they face. The story includes their employees, wives and those around them in a beautiful depiction of Venice in those times.

The book described characters in a way that even their strangest actions are familiar to you. The author is
Karen Munroe
Mar 16, 2014 Karen Munroe rated it it was amazing
I have purchased this book 3 times so that I have a copy to pass on.
Apr 02, 2014 Cherie rated it it was amazing
Historical, semi-speculative fiction done right.
Nov 17, 2012 Rachel rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I was disappointed in this book. I kept waiting for it to pick up and grab my attention. I found her style of writing difficult at times and found myself becoming very annoyed with the characters. The characters focused on one aspect so greatly that i never felt like they were fully developed into what they could have been.

With the wonderful setting of Vencie and a historical period full of change i felt that the author could have made this more then it was.
Sep 27, 2008 shannon rated it really liked it
Shelves: liked
A wonderfully written, fantastically dense book that completely transports you to Venice in body and mind. The plot is a bit too intricate for itself at times, moving so much between first-, second- and third-person viewpoints that it confuses the reader. But the effort is heroic and the end result is enjoyable.
I dont want to give this book a bad review as it just wasn't my kind of thing. I tried to read it but just couldn't get into it and it was taking me forever to plough through. I never really felt like picking it up or continuing and although I hate to give up on a book, I had little choice.
Mar 01, 2008 Victoria rated it really liked it
This book was good, as most book that i have read latley its very slow in the begining and then picks up after a couple of chapters. There are two stories in this book, and jumps back and forth. The story to me was ok, but the descriptions of Venice was amazing, I could picture everything.
A beautifully-written, meticulously researched piece of historical fiction. Even so, there were some pacing problems and it floated along. I can see how some people would love this book to tatters; but it wasn't really for me.
Kerry Bridges
Michelle Lovric's novels to me always have a great story, but they are hard work to read. Lots of unnecessary floweriness in the language, but a great portrayal of characters and so evocative of a fascinating city.
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Michelle Lovric is a novelist, writer and anthologist.

Her third novel, The Remedy, was long-listed for the 2005 Orange Prize for Fiction. The Remedy is a literary murder-mystery set against the background of the quack medicine industry in the eighteenth century.

Her first novel, Carnevale, is the story of the painter Cecilia Cornaro, described by The Times as the possessor of ‘the most covetable l
More about M.R. Lovric...

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