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Monday, 26 November 2007

Alibi - Joseph Kanon

This is a gem of a book. Quite old now published in hardback in 2005. It is set in Venice just after the end of WW2. A former US Army war crimes investigator in Germany has come to Venice to forget, but then he falls in love with Claudia, a Jewish survivor of the war, and things do not go as planned.
This book is well, written, atmospheric, a real book noire, Venice in winter, the fog, the water, the cold , you feel it all.
The plot twists and turns with many suprises and the central moral dilemma and outcome, would make it an excellent choice for a reading group.

I have just reserved his book , 'The Good German', which was recently made into a film, we have the DVD in the library, I can't wait to indulge in both!

Tuesday, 13 November 2007

The Rossetti Letter by Christi Phillips

This book could have had so much going for it. History, a glamorous location - Venice, Venetian Courtesans, political intrigue, but oh dear what a disappointment. It was poorly, sloppily,written, with stereotypical characters, cliche ridden and evil baddies. One almost expected Monty Python to appear with " no one expects the Spanish ( whoops Venetian!) Inquisition"!

When books like this are published it makes one despair. It is written by an American author, clearly for an undiscerning American market. At one point the modern history graduate heroine, turns to her history(!) student travelling companion, on landing in Italy, (the student had not heard of the 2nd World War - one wonders do they have an education system?), and instructs her that without the Americans, Europeans would all be speaking German! It is this crass, lack of respect that typifies this novel. If I had been in a gondola the book would have been confined to the watery depths!