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Venice For Lovers (Armchair Traveller) [Paperback]

Louis Begley , Anka Muhlstein
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
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Book Description

6 Feb 2012 Armchair Traveller
Each year of their 30-year marriage, Louis Begley, the award-winning author of Wartime Lies, and his wife Anka Muhlstein have spent long, enjoyable months in Venice. They write and live there and over the decades La Serenissima has become their second home. The owners of their favourite restaurants have become their friends and they share the lives of the locals, far off the welltrodden tourist track. Begley tells the story of how he fell in love with and in Venice, though as he makes clear when writing on Venice’s pivitol role in world literature, he was not the only one − Henry James, Marcel Proust and Thomas Mann are only three of his most illustrious predecessors.

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Product details

  • Paperback: 176 pages
  • Publisher: Haus Publishing (6 Feb 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1907973702
  • ISBN-13: 978-1907973703
  • Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,267,388 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

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Review

"A love letter to an ancient Italian city by the sea . . . Both writers are exemplars of the windowpane school of prose: We are able to visualize their subjects as soon as we take in their sentences."--Mindy Aloff, "The Washington Post""Refreshing and delightful. Begley and Muhlstein manage to combine in one volume the innocent ardor of a first-time visitor and the seasoned appreciation of longtime lovers."--Don George, "National Geographic Traveler""This is an unconventional introduction that captures the spirit both of La Serenissima and of what Thomas Mann called "the slightly foul odor of sea and swamp.." . . fresh insights both from the writers who are quoted and the authors themselves: and the novella is a gem."--Andrew Taylor, "Times Literary Supplement"(UK)"A charming collection of writing and memoirs of the most romantic of cities."--"The Daily Express"(UK)

About the Author

Louis Begley was born in Poland in 1933. His novel About Schmidt was turned into a film of the same name starring Jack Nicholson.

A celebrated biographer and historian. She was awarded the Goncourt Prize in 1996 for her biography of Custine. She is the author of Balzac's Omelette.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars LOVE ITALIAN STYLE 6 Nov 2008
By Gail Cooke TOP 500 REVIEWER
Format:MP3 CD
Looking for a good romantic story quite unlike those you've read and heard before? Here it is. Venice for Lovers reveals not only the love shared by a man and woman but also their mutual love for a place, one of the world's most beautiful, storied cities - Venice. Where better to evoke feelings of love and passion?

Working together (to my knowledge for the first time) noted novelist Louis Begley and his biographer wife, Anka Muhlstein, have penned a meritorious story. Add to this a stunning, finely nuanced reading by Malcolm Hillgartner and the result is an audiobook to dream on.

For the past 30 years Begley and his wife have spent their summers in Venice. They go there to write and have pretty much established a rigorous writing schedule for themselves. For one thing, they avoid social occasions. Thus, when she describes Venice it is much as seen through the eyes of the owners of restaurants where they repeatedly dine. Few listeners will forget Ernesto and his memories of the dreadful 1966 flood.

When it is Begley's turn he offers Venice through the eyes of a young man who comes to the city hoping to win an older woman with whom he has fallen in love. She spurns him but as it often is with youth there is more for him to discover.

Those who have been to Venice will welcome this opportunity to revisit it, and those who have not may well begin packing their bags.

Highly recommended.

- Gail Cooke
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 3.2 out of 5 stars  4 reviews
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Dash those great expectations 11 Dec 2008
By K. Doak - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
Any book about Venice attracts me. Without reading the one other review, I have to say that the publisher who told Begley he had the kernel of a book (after reading paper he, Begley, presented at a Venice preservation symposium)may not have gotten what he hoped for.
First, high marks for the first vignette about food and the chefs by his French wife ( and for the translator.) They should have had her write the whole book. While smacking of one-upmanship [really, how many of us have spent the last twenty years spending a month every year in Venice at a hotel (even a small hotel,) eating most of our meals at certain eating places {some grand, others modest} and developing personal relationships with the owners and or maitre d's?,] it was, nevertheless fun. As a food lover as well as Venice lover, it worked for me , no little of which was due to the nice writing style.

The second piece, a short story by Begley, crashes on the shore. A big let down after the first gem. Perhaps it is in tune with the times - a la some (The) New Yorker prose these days, but it wouldn't or shouldn't win Second Prize in the Prima Short Story Contest. Stoopid.

Then the last (third) piece [from his talk, one presumes.] It just seemed rather pointless or at best a stretch. Sure, three great writers used Venice as a backdrop in their stories, but it seems unlikely that a doctoral dissertion advisor would ever encourage his charge to consider this a serious project. It's more a throw away junket that might appeal to the gathering at the "Save Venice" or whatever group he addressed. Boring? Perhaps. Interesting? Not to this reader.

Bring on some more stories, books by the wife!!!
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars LOVE ITALIAN STYLE 5 Nov 2008
By Gail Cooke - Published on Amazon.com
Format:MP3 CD
Looking for a good romantic story quite unlike those you've read and heard before? Here it is. Venice for Lovers reveals not only the love shared by a man and woman but also their mutual love for a place, one of the world's most beautiful, storied cities - Venice. Where better to evoke feelings of love and passion?

Working together (to my knowledge for the first time) noted novelist Louis Begley and his biographer wife, Anka Muhlstein, have penned a meritorious story. Add to this a stunning, finely nuanced reading by Malcolm Hillgartner and the result is an audiobook to dream on.

For the past 30 years Begley and his wife have spent their summers in Venice. They go there to write and have pretty much established a rigorous writing schedule for themselves. For one thing, they avoid social occasions. Thus, when she describes Venice it is much as seen through the eyes of the owners of restaurants where they repeatedly dine. Few listeners will forget Ernesto and his memories of the dreadful 1966 flood.

When it is Begley's turn he offers Venice through the eyes of a young man who comes to the city hoping to win an older woman with whom he has fallen in love. She spurns him but as it often is with youth there is more for him to discover.

Those who have been to Venice will welcome this opportunity to revisit it, and those who have not may well begin packing their bags.

Highly recommended.

- Gail Cooke
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Waste of time and money 8 April 2013
By Ludmilla - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
The first part of the book was interesting. Then, without warning: Begley's soft-core pornography. But he must have known that his story was so dull that absolutely no one would have read the whole thing. I didn't. That kind of stuff annoys me. But, the adolescent boys he wrote it for will probably keep reading/listening, hoping for more of the "good parts." I didn't go on after the first few sentences, so I don't know if they'll be disappointed.
0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful! 4 Jun 2012
By R. Hanks - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
A must-read for anyone who has been to Venice, wants to go to Venice, or loves good travel writing. I highly recommend this collaborative effort between this amazing wife-husband writing duo.
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