billionaire collector Francois Pinault
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Fans of Christobel Kent's Sandro Cellini series of crime novels will be pleased to learn that she plans to write a 6th. That she plans to make this the last and that her new novel The Crooked House, out on the 5th of January 2015, is not set in Florence at all and has a danker and more English setting might be the cause of less immediate pleasure.
Ciao, Carpaccio! is a new book by Jan Morris about the Venetian painter and I hope to be reviewing soon. She's saying that it will be her last. The slim and well illustrated volume is published by Pallas Athene, a publishing house I'd hitherto not been very aware of but which has some tasty books on its list, some of which seem up this website's street, as it were. They seem to be riding the current Effie and Ruskin wave, for example, with a new edition of the Effie Letters (which I reviewed in a previous edition here) and a new book about the whole affair called Marriage of Inconvenience, which seems to be refreshingly less anti-Ruskin than usual.
Been home a couple of days now. The rib pain is no trouble as long as I don't breath, bend down, lift anything, get into bed, get out of bed, feed the cats...and as for coughing or sneezing! Actually the painkillers are working a treat, and the arm grazes are looking much less vivid. The moral of this story - look where you're putting your feet in major European art centres. No more trips now, until Mantua & Ferrara in March and Assisi etc. in April.
Blimey, he's never home!
Jeff in Florence
Reading the novella by Somerset Maugham I've just reviewed set me to pondering the relative numbers of novels set in Florence and Venice written by big-name 'literary' authors. Venice clocks up 21: Balzac, Brodkey, Wilkie Collins, Coover, D'Annunzio, DuMaurier, Geoff Dyer, L.P. Hartley, Patricia Highsmith, Kazuo Ishiguro, Ian McEwan, Thomas Mann, Anthony Powell, Proust, Rolfe, Lisa St Aubin de Terán, George Sand, Schiller, Vikram Seth, Muriel Spark, and Barry Unsworth. But Florence also manages a reputable 8, from a much shorter list: Boccaccio, Congreve, Dante, George Eliot, E.M.Forster, W. Somerset Maugham, Pratolini, and Rushdie. (Henry James, Michael Dibdin, and Sarah Dunant are not counted as the have novels set in both cities.) And yes I know that my choice is partial and full of value judgements!
I just did one of my periodic searches on Amazon for new Florence- and Venice-set fiction and there's really nothing exciting on the horizon. A few more books giving the impression that a good majority of visitors to these cities are women with boring names looking to be tied up and spanked by tall dark men with seductive scowls and aristocratic backgrounds, but not much else. Except it seems that Michelle Lovric has another book for Y.A.s set in Venice out next August, called The Hotel of What You Want. But confusingly it already has almost twenty review quotes up. Presumably they are for her previous books, but it doesn't say so and the quotes cunningly contain no mention of events or characters. Very odd.
Jeff in Verona
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