Sunday, April 15, 2012

Venetian Curiosities-Donna Leon and Il Complesso Barocco

Venetian Curiosities

Donna Leon and Il Complesso Barocco

Atlantic Monthly Press, Apr 3 2012, $25.00

ISBN: 9780802120311

This is an interesting short story collection that retells some of the legendary tales of Venice. In addition to the shorts there are CD recordings of Vivaldi work with Riccardo Minasi conducting Il Complesso Barocco and accompanying illustrations predominately by eighteenth century artists Giovanni Antonio Canal and Pietro Longhi.

In “The Elephant Goes to Church” the title character was brought in for Carnival, but gets loose and causes trouble before seeking sanctuary in a church. The gambler bets “A Palazzo on the Turn of a Card.” The city leaders try to erase homosexuality by hireing “Prostitutes Working for the Good of the State.” In the seventeenth century, he was accused of treason, but his accusers learn the hard way with their executions that “The Truth Is What You Choose It To Be.” In “Diabolical Lust”, a popular sausage maker apparently uses a special ingredient in his squazzetto. Although the writings are too short as we would want more depth from the great Donna Leon, each entry is well written and provides a fascinating look at Renaissance Venice while the fabulous CD and the paintings enhance a delightful look at the mythos of Venetian Curiosities.

Harriet Klausner

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