The City of Falling Angels
With The City of Falling Angels,Berendt tries to do for Venice what he did for Savannah in his 1994 blockbuster Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil: impart the flavor of the city through quirky characters, crime stories, and gossip. But while he stumbled on a splashy overarching narrative for Midnight (the murder trial of gay antiques dealer Jim Williams), he casts around in vain for an equally dramatic Venetian centerpiece. The scandal involving the papers of longtime resident Ezra Pound? The suspicious hanging death of a local poet? The burning of the Fenice opera house? None of these vignettes fits the bill, but Berendt writes so gracefully and with such a sharp eye for the telling, catty detail that you probably won’t mind.