Thursday, December 20, 2007

Jan Morris Faber $35

Jan Morris is one of the great contemporary travel writers and her book VENICE remains to this day my favourite book on that magical city.

This new, slender hardback is a perfect gift for anyone who loves or is intrigued by Venice.

Here is her opening paragraph which immediately arrested me on reading it in the bookshop:

Tumbling and rushing out of the high Dolomites, streaming across the flatlands of the Veneto, half a dozen rivers of Italy create, on the north-western corner of the Adriatic Sea, the Venetian lagoon. It is an assemblage of estuaries, great and small. Thirty five miles long from one end to the other, seven miles wide at its broadest point. Sheltered from the open sea by intermittent sandy bars, floored with the shale and mud brought down over the centuries by the rivers waters, littered with islets, it lies in a straggly but symmetrical crescent along the fertile and populous shore, and in satellite pictures looks man-made, as though it has been scooped out of the mainland mechanically, and dammed with the long line of its reefs.

Illustrated with some of the many of the creatures who inhabit the city – from barge dogs and pigeons to the Winged Lion of St.Mark – the book is indeed as the cover blurb claims “an enchanting tour of Venice’s history and culture.”

A wee gem of a book that is a perfect fit for that Christmas stocking.

No comments: