Usually I read fictional novels, so when a co-worker gave me this non-fiction book to read, I was a bit skeptical. I wasn’t sure what to expect nor what the purpose of the book was. After all, the storyline read like a fictionalized story of the intrigue of Venice, complete with depictions of deceipt and mystery.
The book begins with the author’s arrival in Venice shortly after the devastating fire which burned the world-famous Venetian opera house, La Fenice. What entails is the investigation into the fire and a determination as to whether the fire was a result of arson or pure negligence on the part of the crew working on the remodeling of the famous theater. The author interviews many members of Venetian society, and soon finds out about all the jealousies and back-stabbing going on behind the scenes. He finds that there are many who could easily be implicated, and some for good reason, into the event. Every one of these players, though, could also prove their innocence. As a result, the true cause of the fire is never really discovered.
The book is a portayal of the many facets which make up Venetian society…and the pride that the citizens of Venice have for their mysterious and beautiful city. Even though the famous opera house was burned, the aftermath of Venetian civic pride became even more evident and the personal ties involved in Venetian society was interesting to learn about.
If you are interested in a book which delves into the political and social underlyings of Venice, you will like this book. I found it mostly interesting, but I felt it moved a bit slowly and the in-depth character descriptions were a bit over-developed and long.
This book was read as part of the Italy In Book Challenge 2011.