City of Falling Angels, The

Berendt, John

  14 Reviews

The City of Falling Angels opens on the evening of 29 January 1996 in Venice, when a fire destroys the historic Fenice Opera House. The loss of the Fenice, where five of Verdi's operas premiered, is a catastrophe for Venetians. Berendt becomes a kind of detective, inquiring into the nature of life in the city, while gradually revealing the truth about the fire. Berendt introduces the reader to a cast of flamboyant characters, and a mazelike city where mysteries unfold. [Small font]

Comments from Groups

An interesting and enjoyable book especially for those of us who had visited Venice. Feilding 002

Responses ranged from very enjoyable to ambivalent. The book had more appeal to those members who had visited Venice and knew about the buildings and glass traditions. Ngongotaha 002

Although not everyone in the group finished the book, those who did really enjoyed it. We thought the story of the Venice fire was very cleverly woven with a number of other mysterious events. Christchurch 010

Almost everyone thoroughly enjoyed it, and we certainly enjoyed discussing it all. What an insight he gave us into this amazing city thorugh the lives of some of its interesting people. Coromandel 002

Enjoyed the book. Thought the accompanying notes very good. Discussed the (de)merits of "new journalism" which combines fiction and factual writing. Jervoistown 001



Really enjoyable and interesting book, especially as it was true. Many of us spent time googling the people, places, architecture etc. This really added to the stories. It gave a real picture of the culture and priorities of that sector of society. Good that you could read the 2nd half of the book largely out of order and it didn't leave you lost. Not a quick read though.
Although two of our members enjoyed this book, the majority didn't. Berendt is a fine writer, and turns his interviews, observations and research into a fiction-like style. But most of us found the book too dense and ultimately boring. Several people didn't finish it.
AUCK 010
Started very well - then became too drawn out, with too much detail about infighting amongst rich egos.
It was a fascinating read about different Venetian personalities. However many members struggled to completely read it because of the small print on yellowy pages.
AUCK 271
As a group we enjoyed the insight to life in Venice, and the different issues which transpired after the fire. Lots of lovely eccentric characters!
WELL 027
Most very much enjoyed the book, particularly the way it was written. It brought back memories for those who had visited Venice and supplied a new perspective for looking at this world famous little city.
Mixed reactions to this book - some members thoroughly enjoyed it, others found it 'gossipy' and couldn't get into it. Journalistic style suggested it was a collection of stories about particular people who happened to live in Venice.
Not really a 'favourite' among members. However there was lots of information about political, social and historical aspects of Venice, and the fact that it has been an artistic and cultural centre for Europe for many centuries.
MAST 013
Good discussion. Book enjoyed by most though some found it a little boring in places. Those who had been to Venice had a better understanding of the city and its people. Would have liked a map of Venice and perhaps some photographs.
We enjoyed this book with its fascinating detail of Venice's history and culture and, in particular, the stories of real people that gave us an insight into the Venetian 'character'.
Several members did not finish the book although most felt it was an interesting read with some intriguing characters. It did not generate a great deal of discussion.
Our opinions were very varied, but we did like Berendt's style of writing, and the depth of his research into all his stories. We all felt we learnt much about life in Venice.
NAP 023
This was an interesting scenario of the people of Venice rather than the place! Many of our group had been there so much discussion of impressions and reminiscences. Generally enjoyed.
CHCH 116
We all 'enjoyed' the book, several remarking that they appreciated it more because they had been in Venice, and recognised buildings and situations. Berendt writes in a lively, authoritative and entertaining way.