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A Stopover in Venice Hardcover – 19 Aug 2008

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 305 pages
  • Publisher: Knopf Publishing Group; 1 edition (19 Aug. 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0307267067
  • ISBN-13: 978-0307267061
  • Product Dimensions: 13.5 x 3 x 21.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 2,923,745 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I almost abandoned this book as I found reading it VERY frustrating. I had to keep re-reading large sections of it to establish which character had said what. Not once has the author used quotation/speech marks. I find this very, very strange and it really detracted from the writing and the story. I couldn't find much sympathy for Nel' the main character in the book either. I purchased the book mainly for its' connection to Venice and was disappointed. It could really have been set anywhere, and in my opinion the author wasted a lot of opportunities. I agree with the friend of the previous reviewer, a fairy tale. Wouldn't recommend it at all I'm afraid. I keep all my books with Venice connections, but this one went off to the charity shop. Oh, pretty dust jacket though.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I was totally absorbed by this novel (recommended by a friend). It vividly portrays the experience of being in Venice and draws what to me was quite a convincing picture of a failed marriage to a rock star; in parallel, we have an emergent friendship and romance (a bit too easy and perfect, no doubt) and an arresting mystery from centuries ago that had me consulting art history on google, to match pictures to the novelist's descriptions. If my remarks sound a bit more qualified than the stars I am allocating, that is because I passed the book on to a friend who was much less impressed and insisted that the book was 'just a fairy tale'. I guess I like a modern fairy tale!
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 21 reviews
25 of 26 people found the following review helpful
a glorious adventure! 25 Aug. 2008
By LINDSAY LAW - Published on
Format: Hardcover
This is a wonderfully seductive book. The contemporary story delights with mystery, discovery, the entanglements of modern-day marriage and the possibility of release through self-discovery. The historical story is a wonderfully complex maze through the history of Venice, the world of artists, and blessed with a love story that is unbearably touching.
It is refreshing, original, and deeply satisfying.
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
Lovely, But Not Without Its Drawbacks 18 July 2010
By Candelora Versace - Published on
Format: Paperback
Oh, the useless lives of women married to famous men, how they squander their time and their talents in deference to their more important mates. That is, until they wake up and say, hey, wait a minute, what about me? Such is the trajectory of one Cornelia Everett, 35 years old and married to a popular, charismatic and apparently obsessively self-absorbed musician.

A Stopover in Venice starts with Nel spontaneously pulling her suitcase off the overhead rack from a train bound for Verona and returning to Venice, leaving her husband Antony and his posse to finish their European tour without her.

Author Kathryn Walker in her first novel paints lovely pictures of old Venice, with its legendary light (a softer, watery version of Santa Fe's), its crumbling palazzos and its maddening maze of unmarked city streets and alleyways. And she does a convincing job of evoking the emotional netherworld of a young woman who fell into a particular sort of marriage (the one-sided kind that often comes with fame) before she was fully prepared.

The adventures to be found in a wonderland like Venice for an aimless and uncertain woman armed with her husband's credit card (which to her credit she uses intelligently and sparingly) are just right for a book that strives to hit a notch above the standard woman-in-transition genre.

Through a refreshingly not-improbable series of events, Nel finds herself a guest of a grand old signora in one of the aforementioned old palazzos, at one time used as both a convent and a hospital during the plague years. A young scholar named Matteo and his assistants are busy working on the careful reveal of a mysterious 16th century fresco buried under layers of old plaster in one of the many abandoned rooms, and Nel finds herself drawn in to the project and the mystery of the unknown artist.

The "family" that is created between Nel, Matteo, the Signora and her old housekeeper Annunziata and a couple of other researchers pulled in to help unravel the history of the building and its mysterious fresco gives Nel the sense of community and shared purpose she had missed in her marriage. Their warmth and conviviality convince her to tie up the loose ends she has left behind and leap forward into the unknown armed with a new perspective and possibilities.

A Stopover in Venice is an appealing story, filled with convincing scholarship and fascinating historical detail, but is not without its drawbacks. Walker has chosen a quirky writing style that eliminates quotation marks throughout all the dialogue, rendering this reader often confused between the actual dialogue and Nel's internal asides, frequently inserted without warning. Much of the book has a reportorial feel to it; transitions lack grace and characters seem to be anaylzed rather described. The classic "show, don't tell" mantra of all writing teachers everywhere seems to have been ignored.

Two seconds with Google has produced the information Walker's PR purporsely chose to leave out: she is an ex-wife of singer James Taylor, and this, her first novel, is a roman a clef of her own adventure in Venice when she left him. That answers many questions a reader might have about the nature of the storytelling in this novel.
11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
Delightful! 9 Sept. 2008
By Renaissancelady46 - Published on
Format: Hardcover
I just finished reading this wonderful tale of discovery that takes place in Venice. I will probably read it again after I allow a little time to savor it and let it sink in. The writing is wonderful, the characters are multifaceted and interesting; there is also a delightful little dog and, of course, the beautiful city of Venice. I couldn't put the book down, from the minute Nel steps off a train to Verona and returns alone to Venice... to the end...well, I won't tell you the end. The book is fun, intriguing, interesting and, if you love Italy and Renaissance art, you will find it a total treasure. Never formula, it is as fresh, heady and stimulating as a cup of cafe espresso. Oh, how I wish I was picking it up for the first time all over again!
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Self-indulgent 29 Mar. 2012
By Amazon Customer - Published on
Verified Purchase
I am an art historian and found the plot to be implausible.

Moreover, the speaker is very self-indulgent. Was that intentional? Every turning point in the plot,
if it involved a decision on the protagonist's part, was chewed over and over till the reader wished
she would just get on with it.

I stayed with the book until the end, hoping the story would get better. The conclusion,
such as it was, was disappointing.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
An intoxicating journey through the enchanted Lagoon City 2 Oct. 2008
By India Ballinger - Published on
Format: Hardcover
The evocative descriptions in this book -- both the connections to the past and the present -- are wonderfully captivating. As a long-time Venetophile, I have filled my shelves with books published about the city. A Stopover in Venice does tasteful justice to the Love-of-Venice genre.

The author conveys her belief that one more book about Venice, about love in Venice, about art in Venice, and about the secret discovery of art treasures are gifts she would like the reader to share. The book feels like a gift of love and is enjoyable on so many levels. Love is explored in all forms -- the ashen remains of dead marriages, the bittersweet longing of lost loves, and the discovery and excitement of someone new. It also explores love of art and "The Discovery." One gets the sense that the palazzos of Venice are filled to the rafters with delicious discoveries, and this book captures that feeling. The city of Venice becomes an essential character in this book which is also detailed in its slow unfolding of the desires of its human (and canine) characters.

The read was such a wonderful journey, I was sad for it to end. I look forward to more books by this author!
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