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69 Reviews
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Unusual book about Venice - written from a (short-term) resident's viewpoint
I really enjoyed this book. It's well written, amusing at times and conjures up an excellent picture of what it is like to live in Venice. The author describes the fishbowl feeling of being photographed whenever she went out, of not being accepted by true Venetians, and feeling 'neither flesh nor fowl'. She also felt alien from the numerous Eastern Europeans who go to...
Published 18 months ago by The Cats' Mother

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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Venice experienced.
This book takes you to live in Venice for a year with Polly and her family. I was looking forward to getting to know the various members of the family and hearing their thoughts on the experience. However, the book is surprisingly light on the motives for the move and we are only given brief glimpses into the children's lives and thoughts. Alberto the husband is almost...
Published 19 months ago by Jenny Shaw-Browne


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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Unusual book about Venice - written from a (short-term) resident's viewpoint, 25 Sept. 2013
By 
The Cats' Mother (Hampshire, England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Politics of Washing: Real Life in Venice (Kindle Edition)
I really enjoyed this book. It's well written, amusing at times and conjures up an excellent picture of what it is like to live in Venice. The author describes the fishbowl feeling of being photographed whenever she went out, of not being accepted by true Venetians, and feeling 'neither flesh nor fowl'. She also felt alien from the numerous Eastern Europeans who go to Venice to work (or beg). The day to day difficulties of living in a city which is a museum, where there are no cars and getting from one part of the city to another takes forever are well described, and the effect it had on her children is interesting. She talks very little about her (Italian) husband, so how much help he was in adjusting to life in Venice is indeterminate. Don't get me wrong, though, there were definitely parts of life there that she absolutely loved, but I get the feeling that leaving was not too much of a wrench after a year. Overall, a very readable and informative book. I shan't look at Venetians in their home city in quite the same light in the future.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars eseential reading, 23 May 2013
Don't even think about visiting Venice without reading this book. Polly Coles offers a thoroughly readable and highly intelligent collage of reflections and sketches providing a series of satisfyingly well-informed insights into the arcane and baffling ways of the endangered world of Venice. I loved reading this warm, wise and refreshingly honest book: I felt I was there in Venice with Polly, and I thoroughly enjoyed her company.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Venice experienced., 7 Aug. 2013
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This review is from: The Politics of Washing: Real Life in Venice (Kindle Edition)
This book takes you to live in Venice for a year with Polly and her family. I was looking forward to getting to know the various members of the family and hearing their thoughts on the experience. However, the book is surprisingly light on the motives for the move and we are only given brief glimpses into the children's lives and thoughts. Alberto the husband is almost never mentioned we never get to hear about his motivation or participation in the day to day family life. There is a great deal of discussion on modern Venice versus past Venice. Venetian versus tourist. However, the book lacks the human intimate touch which its title promises.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Politics of Washing, 19 April 2014
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This review is from: The Politics of Washing: Real Life in Venice (Kindle Edition)
A really good insight into modern life in Italy. Definitely related to the main character, we experienced the same when moving to Italy.

Would definitely recommend this book as a must read to anyone who is thinking of moving to Italy just so they know what they are getting into. Anyone going there as a tourist should read this too.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This book is a gem of a read for those who long to explore beyond the tourist trail., 8 April 2014
There are loads of great reviews for this book already – and it's well deserved. We are offered a rich and often surprising portrait of a place and people that are far more captivating than the clichés we are so familiar with.
Each chapter offers a different angle on the complexity of Venice’s struggle for survival in the modern world. Highly accessible and deeply thought-provoking and from time to time very funny. A perfect companion for the thoughtful real or virtual traveler.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars the real Venice, 27 Sept. 2014
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This review is from: The Politics of Washing: Real Life in Venice (Kindle Edition)
Unlike many travel books I have read recently, this book was written well, had plenty of colourful description which fleshed out the book. Venice came to life but in a new way. I have visited Venice as a tourist, like millions before me, but this book focused on what it means to be a Venetian, about the conflict of being one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world with sustaining Venice as a living, breathing community. I enjoyed it for its thoughtfulness.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Another entertaining book for Venice lovers, 29 April 2014
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Anyone who loves this magical city will, I'm sure enjoy this book. It tells the story of the family's time spent living there, incluidng all the rpactical joys and niggles of everyday life - even down to the difficulty of hanging out the washing over the canal at your doorstep a couple of floors below. Any fan of Venice should enjou this.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Venetian Treasure, 27 May 2013
What a delightful book! The author, her Italian husband and four children spend a year living in Venice - the perfect vantage point to describe the city and its inhabitants from the outside, and from within. Polly Coles creates a mille feuille of original and passionate observations on the education system, the post office, living with all that water, and how tourism is both responsible for keeping the place alive and killing it off.

But the real jewels of this book are the people - the Contessa with her IKEA furniture, the old man showing off the broken treasures he's fished from the Lagoon, the neighbour ranting at the author's street party , the gypsy beggar woman, the grim and unimaginative class teacher, the stubborn dry cleaner, Nonno with his cine film show, the tramp who complains about the state of backyard he's shacked up in, the glamorous American couple with their surprising baby. Each of them, and many more, alive immediately in delicate and compassionate detail.

The book is elegiac in tone, sad for a city that seems to be dying both spiritually and physically, but paradoxically these vignettes, many of them as meaty as a short story, demonstrate an extraordinary place teeming with glorious life.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Interesting, 5 July 2014
By 
J. Rushbrooke (Cheshire UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Politics of Washing: Real Life in Venice (Kindle Edition)
Interesting, I learnt a lot about the real Venice
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars very good, 28 Jun. 2014
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This review is from: The Politics of Washing: Real Life in Venice (Kindle Edition)
As an Italian living in the UK I can appreciate the problems involved with adapting to living in another country. Very interesting and lively book which describes very well the italian culture.
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