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Trieste and the Meaning of Nowhere Hardcover – 1 Sep 2001

4.3 out of 5 stars 39 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 208 pages
  • Publisher: Faber & Faber; 1st edition (1 Sept. 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0571204430
  • ISBN-13: 978-0571204434
  • Product Dimensions: 14 x 1.9 x 22.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars 39 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 597,153 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product description

Amazon Review

Located on a narrow, mountainous finger of Italy hard by Croatia and Slovenia, the port city of Trieste is little-visited and seldom in the news. As Jan Morris, who first came to Trieste as the English soldier James Morris in 1945, writes, "It offers no unforgettable landmark, no universally familiar melody, no unmistakable cuisine, hardly a single native name that anyone knows." Yet, as historian and travel writer Morris ably demonstrates in this homage to one of her favourite cities (others about which she has written are Hong Kong, Sydney, New York, and Venice ), Trieste has many charms. Its history is foremost among them, thanks to the city's former role as the sole port of the otherwise-landlocked Austro-Hungarian empire, which housed a small fleet there--a fleet which, from time to time, would sail off to make war against the Ottomans or the Italians. At the beginning of the 20th century, Trieste had grown to international importance as an entry point into Central Europe, so much so that it was referred to as "the third entrance of the Suez Canal". Trieste briefly took centre stage at the onset of the Cold War, when Marshall Tito claimed it for Yugoslavia; it narrowly avoided being enveloped by the Iron Curtain. Morris tells all these stories and more, bringing the city's past to life; no one should be surprised if Trieste sees more visitors thanks to her spirited study.

Yet Trieste and the Meaning of Nowhere is also a work tinged with melancholy. That befits the city's faded glory, but it also has to do with the sad fact that this will be Morris's last book--or so she promises. Let's hope she changes her mind. If not, however, this serves very well as the capstone of a distinguished career. --Gregory McNamee

Review

".. If it proves to be her swansong then this is a fittingly passionate end to a distinguished literary life." -- Observer

"..one of the most impressive and subtle meditations on old age that I have read, much more than mere smudges of grafitti on a wall." -- Daily Telegraph

"This is an exquisitely well-crafted book... Morris has erudition and a waywardly original sensibility, and she writes not just sentences, not just paragraphs, but whole chapters consummately graceful both in sound and sense.." -- Sunday Times

As subtle a piece of autobiographical writing as I have read. -- Evening Standard, September 24, 2001

It is gorgeously written … Dreamy, glancing, allusive, it is a thoroughly captivating elegy for herself, himself, Trieste and the modern world. -- New Statesman, October, 2001

Jan Morris has no rival as a decoder of all that is idiosyncratic and defnitive in the peculiar identity of places throughout the world. -- Literary Review, October, 2001

Morris' little book is as exuberant as it is bittersweet, as resigned as it is wistful. -- Publishers Weekly

She ends her distinguished career with another triumph... a unique and highly personal meditation on Trieste as a city that haunts the memory. -- Waterstones Books Quarterly, September 2001

To call Jan Morris's Trieste and the Meaning of Nowhere a travel book would be as reductive and wrong as calling Hamlet a soap opera. -- Irish Times, October, 2001

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