All the magic and mystery of Venice is sucked out and left for a dying corpse by this endless and pointless book. Ackroyd merely lists and lists and lists subjects, dates, events; and exclusively by quoting other writers and authorities. Has he ever stepped foot in Venice himself? Reminiscent of a poorly documented and disorganized term paper. Back and forth through the centuries; skipping from subject to locale, with no central theme or subject to hold together.
Altogether, and huge bore, and a serious disappointment for anyone who has visited Venice and was looking for some history or story to contain the perspective of this amazing place. If you're thinking of reading/listening to this as a preparation to visiting Venice-- don't. It will only be an endless annoyance.
A long trip that goes nowhere, with a travel companion that is annoying, cloying, predictable and unnecessary. The weakest of all his books to date.
The charm of the original books Tales of the City, invoked delightful characters in amusing situations; all relevant to their invented lives in 70's San Francisco. Revisiting these characters in the midst of middle age is as painful as the 20-year reunion of Dynasty. You just don't want to know that Michael Tolliver is still focused on sex, but now needs Viagra; that many of the original characters are mellowed, moved or dead. The story has absolutely no humor, quirky characters or story line that keeps one interested.... They all should have been left alone in our memories. Armistead should have found something like Viagra to excite his writing again. A major disappointment...couldn't wait to get it over with, and put the book where it rightly belongs... in the recycleables.
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