RadioBDC Logo
Work It Out | Knox Hamilton Listen Live
 
 
< Back to front page Text size +

Donna Leon essays like letters from a friend overseas

Posted by David Lyon  December 15, 2013 12:52 PM

E-mail this article

Invalid E-mail address
Invalid E-mail address

Sending your article

my venice.jpg

I have always been fond of fiction writers who are grounded in a certain place. Indeed, I think that their stories are often the best airplane and hotel reading material when visiting that place. That's why I always try to have a Donna Leon mystery novel featuring Commissario Guido Brunetti on hand when I'm headed anywhere near Venice. Now I have a book to keep me company when I'm at home and want to be reminded of that watery city. My Venice and Other Essays (Atlantic Monthly Press, $26) was published just last week.

In fairness, only about a quarter of the book contains essays about life in Venice, but they are so keenly observed that they almost make me homesick for a city I've only visited. Even the other essays on subjects as varied as men, America, books, and music have the same kind of keen observation that many expatriates cultivate. Although Leon grew up in New Jersey, she's spent most of her adult years overseas, fleeing to Venice from Iran when Khomeini came to power in 1979.

The essays are mostly short and mostly slight -- it is hard to be ponderous when commenting cattily about one's neighbor's penchant for throwing garbage in the Grand Canal -- but they have the kind of friendly intimacy of a letter from a friend far away. Like a poem, an essay is not between two pages, but between two people. Have a look at My Venice. It may speak to you as well.

E-mail this article

Invalid E-mail address
Invalid E-mail address

Sending your article

 
About globe-trotting Travel news, tips, deals and dispatches.
contributors
  • Anne Fitzgerald, Globe Travel Editor
  • Paul Makishima, Globe Assistant Sunday Editor
  • Eric Wilbur, Boston.com staff
  • Kari Bodnarchuk writes about outdoor adventures, offbeat places, and New England.
  • Patricia Borns, a frequent contributor to Globe Travel, writes and photographs travel, maritime, and historical narratives as well as blogs and books.
  • Patricia Harris, a regular contributor to Globe Travel, is author or co-author of more than 20 books on travel, food, and popular culture.
  • Paul E. Kandarian, a frequent contributor to Globe Travel, writes and photographs New England and Caribbean stories.
  • Chris Klein is a regular contributor to Globe Travel. His latest book is "The Die-Hard Sports Fan's Guide to Boston."
  • David Lyon, a regular contributor to Globe Travel, is author or co-author of more than 20 books on travel, food, and popular culture.
  • Hilary Nangle, author of Moon Maine, Moon Coastal Maine, and Moon Acadia National Park, writes about soft adventure, skiing, cultural travel, and food.
  • Joe Ray, a frequent contributor to Globe Travel, writes and photographs food and travel stories from Europe.
  • Necee Regis is a regular contributor to Globe Travel.
archives