There are times when a book comes along and it slides into your life without a hiccup, without causing abrasions, without any jarring whatsoever; it just sits down beside you, takes your hand, slips between the sheets. I've just had that pleasurable experience. Rendezvous in Venice by Philippe Beaussant hit the spot. At a time when I had been writing about Italy and the art found within it I bought Rendezvous at a charity book stall; the timing was just perfect.
It is written perfectly, each sentence is thought out, there is not a word out of place. Sometimes perfectly constructed prose can be boring, tedious, send you crawling for the nearest piece of trash 'lit' or even the television. It is possible that if I had read this book at any other time I would have found myself slumped in front of an episode of Eastenders, or god forbid one of the Spanish soaps (you cannot get deeper in the barrel of poor TV than Spanish soaps). As it was I was swept along on the rush of words, through the swirling rapids and into the dead calm of the lagoon where language and I both drew breath.
The romantic me was stimulated a few sentences. It captured the essence of the looks of love that one has either been lucky enough to be a part of or has spent many an idle hour dreaming of.
"I thought it was only in the paintings of the great masters that lovers could look at each other for eternity, without the night ever falling, without old age creeping in, without tiredness, fatigue or boredom ever appearing. I had just discovered that the stillness of eternal lovers[...] could give way to looks, fleeting smiles and momentary glances".
Originally written in French, the translator clearly has a very good grasp of the author's feelings. It is a very inspirational read.