By Rebecca Ascher-Walsh
Updated June 08, 2007 at 04:00 AM EDT

Four Seasons in Rome

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Four Seasons in Rome, a memoir of novelist Anthony Doerr’s year abroad with his stalwart wife and newborn twin sons, is a hymn not only to the Eternal City but also to life itself. Doerr (The Shell Collector) celebrates the quotidian wonder of starlings swooping above the Seven Hills at dusk, marvels at the genius of ancient naturalist Pliny the Elder, and recounts — often hilariously — the complications of encountering a new culture while chronically sleep-deprived. ”A good journal entry ought [to] be a love letter to the world,” Doerr writes. Rome is exactly that, a passionate reflection about learning to see that celebrates both the foreign and familiar.

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Four Seasons in Rome

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