Melody's Reviews > The City of Falling Angels

The City of Falling Angels by John Berendt
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's review
Jun 14, 2010

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bookshelves: creative-nonficton
Read in June, 2010

If John Berendt's most recent creative work lacks the wildly entertaining characters that made Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil, it is nonetheless an enjoyable beach read, an engaging exploration of the quirks of Venetian culture and politics. Like Midnight, City of Falling Angels takes the resolution of a public mystery as its (very)loose premise: in this case, the suspected arson of the Fenice, Venice's venerable Opera House.

I found that City of Falling Angels suffers from too many characters, none of them as likable--or for that matter, as dislikable--as those we meet in Midnight. I also found that the book capitalized on a political landscape, and literary figures with whom I'm simply not familiar enough. That said, I love the way John Berendt experiences a city. He takes up residence, networks, looks in windows, and over rooftops. He lets the locals be his guidebook. If I'm ever fortunate enough to visit Venice, I hope that I have the good sense to be so adventurous, creative, and deferential a visitor.

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