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The Silent Gondoliers
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The Silent Gondoliers

3.78 of 5 stars 3.78  ·  rating details  ·  992 ratings  ·  107 reviews
In this heart-warming, hilarious fable, told by William Goldman's alter ego, S. Morgenstern (also the author of The Princess Bride), we learn that the gondoliers of Venice once had the finest singing voices in the world. Morgenstern then goes on to unveil the secret mystery behind their sudden silence, teaching us along the way about such significant, historical figures as ...more
Mass Market Paperback, 110 pages
Published November 12th 1985 by Ballantine Books (Mm) (first published 1983)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 1,763)
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Petra X smokin' hot
This is the short and magical fable of Luigi, who is the greatest of all the gondoliers but, sadly, not the most accomplished of singers. It is told through the voice of S. Morgenstern who is perhaps the most talented of all modern fable-spinners, himself quite fictional. Accompanied by the illustrations of Paul Giovanopoulos, who perfectly interprets the world of the gondoliers in pen and ink drawings it is a gem of a book. And if you think there are too many superlatives in this review, it's b ...more
Cheryl
Absolutely delightful. Not substantial enough for five stars, but definitely recommended for fans of The Princess Bride, and vice-versa. My edition had surreal complex line drawings by Paul Giovanopoulos - I hope your edition does, too. I've registered this secondhand but still tight slim pb at bookcrossing and am offering it as a RABCK to US members of BC.
El Templo de las Mil Puertas
"Hubo un tiempo en el que los gondoleros de Venecia deleitaban a sus clientes con las canciones más hermosas. Cantaban a pleno pulmón con una afinación y clase dignos de los más prestigiosos teatros de la ópera. Hubo un tiempo en el que competían entre ellos para demostrar quién lo hacía mejor, superándose a sí mismos día tras día. Pero ese tiempo quedó atrás. ¿Por qué? ¿Qué sucedió para que callaran y remaran en silencio? En este precioso relato lo descubrirás. William Goldman, reconocido autor ...more
Rowan
Nov 08, 2009 Rowan rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Ages 12+
Shelves: historical, ya, fiction
This novella, by the author of The Princess Bride , tells the story of Luigi, one of the greatest gondoliers Venice has ever known, and of why the gondoliers -- once universally acclaimed as the best singers in the world -- stopped singing. It is a tale of the irrepressible nature of dreams, and the courage of a man who pursues his in spite of their seeming impossibility. Morgenstern/Goldman, of course, claims exhaustive research and unimpeachable sources for his tale -- a device echoed by Lemon ...more
Greg
There is not a single thing about this book (except perhaps its shortness) that I didn't absolutely love. The Princess Bride is easily my favorite book of all time so I've always wanted to get my hands on this one. A quick, easy read, it's a beautiful fable. More important, however, is Goldman's excellent prose. He plays with language in such an enthralling way. Check this one out!
Malia
THE SILENT GONDOLIERS is a small book written by William Goldman (a.k.a. S. Morgenstern;-) the author of THE PRINCESS BRIDE. If that facts alone doesn't make you want to run out and get it, I can assure you, it is a wonderful read!
I won't give away much of the plot, but needless to say, it is about gondoliers, and if you have ever been to Venice, you know that this setting is almost as magical as Florin and Guilder.
Goldman peppers this book with touching wit and eloquent humor, and I think it w
...more
Cris V.
Esta obra es de esos raros (y sorprendentes) sucesos que aparecen de repente en un mar de monotonía, una bella historia contada de una manera tan simple, alegre y divertida que es inevitable amarla.

Enfocada en la mística de los famosos gondoleros venecianos, introduce al lector de lleno en las labores de estos personajes y cómo valoran su posición histórica. Tiene de todo: amor a la música, a la canción que cada uno de nosotros lleva por dentro o nuestra vocación, que es lo que por amor nos hace
...more
Cindy
I came across this book (hardcover) some years ago at a weekend warehouse book sale, it was hiding on a picnic table under a stacked pile of books. The author's name stood out "S. Morgenstern" (aka William Goldman). Since I had already read "The Princess Bride" I grab this book up. What a find. Out of print for many years and now re-released under the author's real name. This is a wonderful fable, that makes you smile and your heart ache all at the same time. I so enjoyed this story. I would rec ...more
Dorothy
I got this out while I was looking for the Princess Bride at the library. It's written in the same style, but as far as story goes, it didn't do it for me. I know it's just a fable, but the ending sort of confused me. The whole book was leading up to something great, but never got there. I liked the illustrations better!
Lisa


I really enjoyed this book. It's written in the same tone as the princess bride, but much shorter and fewer characters. I disagree with people who would call it fluff. I think there's a great moral to keeping dreams, facing disappointment with a smile, and persevering.
Anna Serra i Vidal
I really don't know how to classify this book. It escapes labels and it stands alone as a delicious tale about dreams.
It's a quick read, an epic story, a magic episode in the history of Venice.
You just have to read it!
Basil D
Read it in one sitting. It's quite short and not really life-changing, but you still find yourself being heartwarmed days later ...
Matt Kelland
The Princess Bride is one of my all-time favorite books. (Yes, I said book, not film. If you haven't read it, do. It's even better than the film, which may sound hard to believe, but trust me on this.) This is just as good. It's short, sweet, whimsical, and utterly enchanting. Like Bride, it purports to be by S. Morgenstern, and it's a quirky little story about gondoliers, filled with entertaining asides, strange digressions, and insightful observations on human nature and customs worthy of Terr ...more
Dawn Riddle
An excellent account of the World Singing Olympics.
Shadow
This tale by Morgenstern (Goldman) was a nice read. The lighthearted nonsense was the classic Morgenstern from The Princess Bride, although the former was more classic fairy tale while this one is set in Venice (I have not seen any gondoliers in fairy tales, per se; at least before this book here).

But don't get the feeling this book is just a bunch of lighthearted nonsense. Certainly not. The characters lack a certain depth one might find in other types of literature, but the beauty of this stor
...more
Ruth
The gondoliers of Venice were once regarded as the finest singers in the world, but for years they have been mysteriously silent. At the heart of this mystery is a young gondolier named Luigi. Luigi is an incredibly gifted gondolier, able to navigate what other gondoliers refer to as SPLAT Corner with the greatest of ease. However, when it comes to his vocal abilities, Luigi is severely lacking. In fact, his singing is so appalling that the citizens of Venice throw fish at him from their windows ...more
Robert
As a companion piece to Princess Bride (written by the same fictional author, set in the same Europe), The Silent Gondoliers has a lot to live up to. There is a lot of warmth and wit and quaintness in the telling of the tale, but sadly, not much tale to tell.

The Silent Gondoliers does have a main character, Luigi, but, unlike Westley and Buttercup, it takes a very long time before we have any idea what Luigi wants.

Or rather, he always wants the next thing that's out of reach:

He wants to become a
...more
Annie
A short book, only a touch over 80 pages, it was a quick read. It was different than The Princess Bride, it didn't have the same wit, but it was very enjoyable, with a host of quirky and memorable characters; Lugi, Laura, John the Bastard, etc.
It felt very much like a fable or a fairy tale, told in the quick way that felt like the author had sat down and told you the story his father used to tell him, or something like that. It was quite lovely, and worth the read.
Janne Varvára
One time, when I was a bit out of it, my BF sat on the edge of the bed and read to me, in his strong, clear actor's voice. On and off, he read me half this book over a few months, and then we forgot about it for a while.

Yesterday, the tables were turned, and I read the rest of the book for a sleepy, worn down BF. Ah, so nice. I could scarcely have had a more attentive, cheering, moved audience. He gets wonderfully carried away.

This book was recommended to the BF by the owner of the local sci-fi/
...more
Jenny
The return of a beloved classic,
from the bestselling author of The Princess Bride!

Once upon a time, the gondoliers of Venice possessed the finest voices in all the world. But, alas, few remember those days--and fewer still were ever blessed to hear such glorious singing. No one since has discovered the secret behind the sudden silence of the golden-voiced gondoliers. No one, it seems, but S. Morgenstern. Now Morgenstern recounts the sad and noble story of the ambitions, frustrations, and eventua
...more
Adam
[Update - Aug '14] Having read it aloud, now, to my 11-year-old, I like it more than ever. No reservations. And it is quite Helprin-esque. It reminded me, too, of the Selma Lagerlof story, "The Airship" (from the collection, The Girl from the Marsh Croft). [Note: reading to my daughter, I did have to censor 2-3 words.]

”Luigi was in a place few of us are fortunate to ever visit: he was living inside his dream.”

This story of Venice’s legendary-imaginary, vocally-traumatizing gondolier with the “g
...more
Danielle
Very short and easy to read, as well as entertaining. Nothing especially earth-shattering or poignant, but there were some clever bits, and I guess it leaves you with a smile on your face.
My one complaint, (and this shouldn't deter you from reading this or The Princess Bride, it's just something that bugs me) is that there's no distinguishment between fact and fiction. Like, there really is a famous Danieli hotel in Venice, but is there really a famous opera singer who stayed there? (I don't rem
...more
Sunil
The Silent Gondoliers purports to be a fable by S. Morgenstern, who researched the history of gondoliers in Venice to discover why they no longer sang. For, lo, many years ago, the gondoliers were the grandest and most beautiful singers in the world. People came from all over to hear them sing. The story focuses on Luigi, who is an expert gondolier but a terrible singer.

Unlike The Princess Bride, the story is told in first-person by Morgenstern, who, like Goldman, interjects at times to comment.
...more
Rebecca
The author of The Princess Bride tells another fake historical tale of why the gondoliers in Venice hire accordian players and never sing themselves.

Thoughts: This is a sweet, charming little tale about how, despite the gondoliers having the best voices in the world, no gondolier will ever sing again. It's fluff--there's basically nothing to this--but it's adorable fluff. My edition also had endearing little line drawings to illustrate.

Like The Princess Bride, this is narrated by the fake histo
...more
David
Years ago, before one could ask questions of the all-knowing internet, I visited my local used books store (Yesterday’s Books of Modesto) to see if I could order a copy of “The Silent Gondoliers”. I had seen an ad for it in the back of my copy of The Princess Bride. Two members of the staff had told me I’d been had. The Princess Bride book had pretended to be an abridged version of a larger work by S. Morgenstern, and The Silent Gondoliers (also by Morgenstern) was part of the joke – the book di ...more
Yvette
This is such a truthful story about hearts' desires and whims of fate. To enjoy this short tale, I encourage readers to leave behind what they thought they knew about S. Morgenstern/William Goldman, and just let him do his thing. Which is quite different than that beloved Princess Bride Thing. Because the tale is simpler, and because what he does with words is gush out the ups and downs of a single life, mimicking the intense ups and downs of waves in a great storm. Because often, we have challe ...more
Molly

"The first book I read this year was The Silent Gondoliers by William Goldman, as told by S. Morgenstern. The guy who wrote The Princess Bride? It was really very good, and I recommend it to everyone, because it is amazing, and also because it is only about 120 pages, has a few illustrations, and large-ish font. It isn't really historically accurate, which bothers me sort of about Goldman's writing style, but It is still a rip-roarin' good time. Very funny, and blunt in it's execution of storyli
...more
Katie Tatton
A charming, off-beat story that reminded me a bit of the style of Neil Gaiman, The Silent Gondoliers tells the story of Luigi, the best gondolier with the worst voice to ever grace Venice and how his dreams are taken away but still live in his heart, and how he stays true to himself.
Elizabeth Pawlowski
Loved the story! I wish it was five times longer, but captivating and magical nonetheless. I want more from William Goldman…much much more!
Julie
This is a story about why the gondoliers of Venice no longer sing.

I really loved The Princess Bride and will admit the only reason I read this book was because it was by the same author. This story invokes similar humor. I especially enjoy the aside moments when the author stepped away from the story to tell us some of his thoughts. I felt those parts of the book were where most of the humor came through.

I would have like to have gotten to know some of the characters better. I realize this is th
...more
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Goldman grew up in a Jewish family in Highland Park, Illinois, a Chicago suburb, and obtained a BA degree at Oberlin College in 1952 and an MA degree at Columbia University in 1956.His brother was the late James Goldman, author and playwright.

William Goldman had published five novels and had three plays produced on Broadway before he began to write screenplays. Several of his novels he later used
...more
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“But when a girl gives a boy a dead squid - that had to mean something.” 31 likes
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