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Serenissima aka Shylock's Daughter
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Serenissima aka Shylock's Daughter

3.26  ·  Rating details ·  368 Ratings  ·  35 Reviews
Erica Jong reads her dazzling novel in a way that will give you wings to travel through time. She will lure you to the Venice of today and the Venice in its illustrious past.

Hollywood actress Jessica Pruitt, a judge at the Venice Film Festival, senses something mysterious in the air. A captive of Venice wracked with fever and exhaustion, the past and present intermingle an
Hardcover, 384 pages
Published March 1st 1988 by Dell (first published January 1st 1987)
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Suanne Laqueur
Sep 24, 2014 rated it did not like it
Interestingly, when I took this out of the library, there was a piece of paper taped on the inside jacket titled “readers comments.” Here’s what anonymous guest critics had to say:

“Great fun!”
“Enjoyed every minute”
“Unfortunately, rather boring”
“Waste of time. Read and returned book.”
“Extravagant and too fevered, but wonderful, too.”

Well, I wasn’t too fazed by the mixed reviews because I know Jong is not for everybody. But she’s always been high on my list of favorites and the story sounded
Jul 08, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
There's a common misconception that the reason to read an Erica Jong book is for its pornographic qualities. "I just skimmed through looking for the dirty parts, and I was disappointed," as a friend once dismissed this novel. Serenissima in fact is a free-wheeling now-becomes-then fantasy involving a Shakespearean actress and Shakespeare himself. Jong is a good writer, a knowledgable writer, a strong writer who tackles this in a very entertaining and enlightening way.

Her first novel, Fear of Fly
Dec 09, 2017 rated it liked it
This book definitely provided some entertainment and a "carrying away" effect, which was fun. However, the main character, Jessica, didn't develop as deeply as I kept anticipating she would. It's a light-hearted story, and an adventure into the past where she meets up with Shakespeare himself. I found this an interesting and unexpected aspect of the story. Jessica lives a very privileged life, but like many of us, makes decisions that don't allow her to fully realize her potential and connect wi ...more
Oct 20, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was my first Erica Jong book. I enjoyed it, although the untranslated Italian words were a tiny bit annoying. I'm not sure why she's considered so sexually controversial, although maybe Fear of Flying is more intense. Or maybe I've just read too many smutty romance novels.

I'd put this at 3 stars for writing style and initial impression, but the whole parallel Shakespeare universe thing bumps it up to 4 stars for me. Plus, there's probably some deep meaning in there somewhere that will occu
Jun 21, 2010 rated it really liked it
Shelves: time-travel
A beautifully written story of an actress who attends a film festival in Venice, then heads into the past to meet young Will. As she studies for the part of Jessica, Shylock's daughter in the The Merchant of Venice, a witch casts a spell that brings the past and present together.
Aug 20, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: supernatural
My favourite Erica Jong's novel. I haven't read this in many years but the memories are good ones. I loved the timelessness of the storytelling, the out of time, out of body experience, Shakespeare in Venice and how the heroine slips into Jessica's persona trying to live up to what she knows of the play's history.

I'm definitely gonna reread it this year.
Jan 09, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Originally published as Serenissima, this is the erotic tale of an actress who goes to Venice to film The Merchant of Venice. She beomes infatuated with the ancient city and teeters between dreamworld and reality. Are these people she meets real or part of a fantasy...could she be falling for Shakespeare himself?
Dec 10, 2008 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
Awful. The main character spends most of the time talking about her designer 80s clothes.
Also annoying: rambling on and on and using strings of multiple adjectives when only one is needed. The lack of conciseness got old after 20 pages.
Feb 02, 2008 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I keep trying to like Erica Jong in the same way I keep trying to find good erotica, but most of it is just too forced. Kind of like her writing in general.
Susan Gardner
Jun 19, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: adults readers
Imaginative, rewarding fast read with something to think about afterward. The leading characters are a mature actress and the city of Venice.
Jan 26, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is the only book I've read by Jong. Picked it up because it is set in Venice and really liked it.
Aug 19, 2009 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Yet another strange little book I chose from my inherited collection simply because it was slim (before our trip) . . . it was compelling and right up my alley (Venice, Shakespeare), but also weird.
Franz B.
Sep 10, 2017 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Non ho proprio capito il senso di questo libro.. Noioso e basta.
Avevo grandi aspettative e invece..
Susan Strickland
Jan 22, 2015 rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Bish Denham
Feb 27, 2016 rated it it was ok
Shelves: fiction
I wanted to like this book, to enjoy it. But the writing was so repetitive that I found myself skimming. I got tired of the endless descriptions of what people were wearing and of Jessica's emotional baggage. And the plot... half-way through (literally) I was still waiting for a plot to emerge. When I finally got to Will, I was disappointed. He turned out to be a spineless follower and, although he and Jessica are supposed to be passionately, madly in love, the chemistry didn't come through for ...more
Mar 19, 2015 added it
You don't have to be a Shakespeare groupie, as I am, to enjoy this book, but I think it helps. Jong's novel is a hymn of praise to Venice and Shakespeare. But she does change gears halfway. In the first part of the book, we're with our heroine, Jessica Pruitt, an aging actress and the token woman on a panel of judges at the Venice Film Festival in 1984. There's a lot of name-dropping and brand names (I don't really care who she's wearing, frankly)... and then in the second half, we're in a time- ...more
Apr 18, 2014 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I usually like Erica Jong and enter this book expecting the same, especially since I had just come back from a trip to northern Italy and had the luck to be able to spend two whole days in Venice. I figured even if I didn't care for the book, I would enjoy the added insight into Venice. Uh, no.

I think I was mostly frustrated by the tremendous amount of new vocabulary (or rather old, obscure vocabulary). I like to keep track of new words, but I like them to be ones I might have a chance of using
Apr 05, 2011 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-2011
Las primeras páginas del libro comienzan a mezclar la visita de una gran actriz de cine en el festival de Venecia con desvaríos de su vida. Más adelante y mediante la intervención de una anciana y un anillo que ésta le regala, viajará en el tiempo hasta la época de William Shakespeare y conocerá a éste. Ella será la Jessica del Mercader de Venecia, una judía de la que Shakespeare se enamora locamente a pesar de ser padre de familia. La historia estaría bien si la protagonista no se repitiera con ...more
A woman prepares to perform one of Shakespeare's plays is transported to the time & place it takes place (Merchant of Venice).

But it's not a dream of symptoms of delirium. When she returns to the present she returns with the child she shielded from Christian people who sought his death. The baby was Jewish & Christian. Neither side accepted him although the Jews meant him no direct harm. She awoke with the child and memories of Shakespeare, who was journeying with friend, patron, and lov
Jun 12, 2012 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: quit-this-book
This was the worst piece of dreck I've ever attempted to read in my entire life. Half way through the book there was still no solid plot and the same thing was going on as in the first chapter. I had to drag myself to pick up the book multiple evenings in a row. I finally gave up on it.

If I could give this book a minus 5 stars I would do so. Total garbage!!! Don't waste your time.
Apr 15, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Intriguing novel involving Shakespeare and time-travel, with the unforgettable admonition, from a female to a male, that "You are much closer to any man on earth, than to the woman you love."--or something to that effect. Anyway, I gained an instant respect for Erica and to any man mature enough to heed her message.
Nov 28, 2015 rated it liked it
Finished this while in Venice--so all of the glitter and hustle of this beautiful city and overdone story align perfectly. A wild tale, well told, and larded with Shakespearean quotes and bits. But ultimately unsatisfying.
Amela Nukic
Jan 26, 2016 rated it did not like it
Plitka knjiga pisana kratkim jednostavnim reDenicama, sa priliDno lo1om radnjom i idejom. Autorica je opsjednuta 0ekspirom i Venecijom na iritiraju7i naDin. Iskreno, proDitala sam je na preskok. Nije vrijedna paEnje. ...more
Beth Shaffer-scott
Sep 04, 2016 rated it liked it
Fun, quick read, especially if you love Shakespeare.
Jan 13, 2010 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: venice
Always attracted to Venice but really didn't like it when I read it according to the old notebook
Mar 06, 2012 rated it did not like it
REALLY didn't like this book. Only one I had to read for second half of vacation - mistake!
May 12, 2016 rated it did not like it
The narrative is too confusing, the sex-scenes too corny, and the endless descriptions of different brands of clothes makes this book an exhausting and tiresome read.
May 20, 2013 added it
So much fun to read, especially if you love Shakespeare and/or Venice, as Jong plainly does.
A highly personal account of a literary woman's lust for life, including, of course, motherhood!
Rebekka Steg
Serenissima by Erica Jong is essentially a declaration of love to Shakespeare. The language is poetic and very beautiful, but the book, in my opinion, seems to drag on a bit.
Sep 13, 2015 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2015-reads
Two mediocre books in one, neither particularly well developed or integrated.
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Erica Jong—novelist, poet, and essayist—has consistently used her craft to help provide women with a powerful and rational voice in forging a feminist consciousness. She has published 21 books, including eight novels, six volumes of poetry, six books of non-fiction and numerous articles in magazines and newspapers such as the New York Times, the Sunday Times of London, Elle, Vogue, and the New Yor ...more
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