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The City of Falling Angels | [John Berendt]

The City of Falling Angels

The author of Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil returns after more than a decade to give us an intimate look at the "magic, mystery, and decadence" of the city of Venice and its inhabitants.
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Publisher's Summary

It was seven years ago that Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil achieved a record-breaking four-year run on The New York Times best seller list. John Berendt's inimitable brand of nonfiction brought the dark mystique of Savannah so startlingly to life for millions of people that tourism to Savannah increased by 46 percent. It is Berendt and only Berendt who can capture Venice, a city of masks, a city of riddles, where the narrow, meandering passageways form a giant maze, confounding all who have not grown up wandering into its depths. Venice, a city steeped in a thousand years of history, art, and architecture, teeters in precarious balance between endurance and decay. Its architectural treasures crumble, foundations shift, marble ornaments fall, even as efforts to preserve them are underway. The City of Falling Angels opens on the evening of January 29, 1996, when a dramatic fire destroys the historic Venice opera house. The loss of the Fenice, where five of Verdi's operas premiered, is a catastrophe for Venetians. Arriving in Venice three days after the fire, Berendt becomes a kind of detective, inquiring into the nature of life in this remarkable museum-city-while gradually revealing the truth about the fire.

©2005 High Water Incorporated; (P)2005 Random House, Inc. Random House Audio, a division of Random House, Inc.

What the Critics Say

"One of the longest-awaited literary encores in recent times....Teems with a diverse cast of aristocrats and lowlifes....Berendt's voice is gentle and tolerant, reveling in human complexities; he has no pretensions of offering anything more than a good story." (The New York Times Book Review)
"In lieu of Savannah, he offers us Venice, another port city full of eccentric citizens and with a long, colorful history." (Publishers Weekly)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

3.4 (382 )
5 star
 (81)
4 star
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3 star
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2 star
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1 star
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3.7 (106 )
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2 star
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1 star
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Story
4.0 (104 )
5 star
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4 star
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3 star
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2 star
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1 star
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Performance
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  •  
    Bingzhe 05-29-15
    Bingzhe 05-29-15 Member Since 2013
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    "Great story and narrator, bad recording"

    John Berendt wrote a fascinating book about Venice, and he examines the life of Venetians and ex-pats that now live in Venice closely.

    The narrator brings the story to life with wonderful adornments in Italian. It's adds spice to the words.

    There are parts of the recording that skip beats and lags. Not sure if Audible can fix it!!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Mynt Washington, DC 11-26-14
    Mynt Washington, DC 11-26-14 Member Since 2005

    Mynt

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    "Starts off Strong, Then Gets Petty"
    Any additional comments?

    The book starts off strong, full of quirky characters and capturing the uniqueness of Venice. I am a fan of "Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil" and it felt lovingly similar to it... in the beginning. But somewhere about 1/2 through the book, the author focuses on a major scandal and controversy and the book becomes "He said, She said". It reminded me of: 1) Holiday fighting with my family where ancient aunts bring up decades old grievances, 2) Junior High Girls spattering about just want Jenny did, 3) a kind of b*tchy commentary. If you choose to read, stop when you get into the part where a couple dotes on an aged, wealthy invalid.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Pita Miami 08-01-14
    Pita Miami 08-01-14 Member Since 2013

    Life long compulsive reader & lover of recorded books

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Gossip, intrigue, politics in Venice....delicious!"
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    I would certainly recommend this book to anyone who wants to be entertained as well as to learn a little bit about illustrious expats in Venice. It will certainly suit those who enjoy classy but gossipy magazines such as Vanity Fair. If you love Venice and know her a little bit as I do, this book will be a treat (of the very frivolous kind, of course)


    What was the most compelling aspect of this narrative?

    The story of the destruction of the opera house in Venice (La Fenice) because of human carelessness and the mishandling of the fire were extremely interesting. The way the writer describes how the fire inspired the glassblower and the resulting masterpieces was also interesting,


    Have you listened to any of Holter Graham’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    This was my first experience with this narrator. He was perfect in this book.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    maryo earth 08-14-12
    maryo earth 08-14-12 Member Since 2012

    An eager voyager. Bags are packed. Passport is ready. Let's go.

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    "More than you can imagine"
    Would you say that listening to this book was time well-spent? Why or why not?

    Yes. It provided insight into a few personalities of Venice.


    How would you have changed the story to make it more enjoyable?

    I would have linked even more of the history to present day events.


    What three words best describe Holter Graham’s performance?

    Steady. Comfortable. Competetent.


    Did The City of Falling Angels inspire you to do anything?

    Yes. It inspired me to listen to Peter Ackroyd's Venice: Pure City


    Any additional comments?

    Give it a go. You'll be surprised at what you hear.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jessica Gottlieb 02-02-06

    Jessica Gottlieb

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    "So slow - so dull"

    Since I'd loved Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil I was really looking forward to listening to this book.

    Perhaps it's a better read than listen.

    It goes on endlessly about peripheral characters and redundantly about time lines.

    What freedom when I deleted it from my ipod and excercised to someone else.

    I must add though that I thoroughly enjoyed the narrator's voice. I felt like a child being read to in the evening.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Igor Calabasas, CA, USA 01-25-06
    Igor Calabasas, CA, USA 01-25-06
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    "Gossip Column"

    I diligently struggled through almost 14 hours of endless stories about dozens of people, mostly American expats, gossiping about each other?s lives. The author believes to be an investigative journalist who is digging in people's dirty laundry and proudly presenting the uncovered 'material' in the 'he said, she said' format. How boring and unessential! Finally, I had to put an end to this nonsense and erased the files from my iPod.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Marty 10-23-05
    Marty 10-23-05
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    "Boring"

    I loved "Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil" and couldn't wait to listen to "Falling Angels." What a disappointment. I was completely bored by the whole book. It wasn't at all engaging--my mind kept wandering whenever I tried to listen. None of the characters--of which there are too many to keep track of--were sympathetic or even interesting. Also, there is a tedious amount of detail about totally uninteresting topics.

    1 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Stephen New Orleans, LA, United States 08-20-12
    Stephen New Orleans, LA, United States 08-20-12
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    "Fascinating subject but sadly disappointing"
    Would you recommend this book to a friend? Why or why not?

    Fair reportage of the fire at La Fenice opera house but lacking descriptive richness and fascinating characters. I would only recommend the book to those with specific interest in disasters and reconstruction. It's not for the general reader.


    What was the most interesting aspect of this story? The least interesting?

    The fire in a historic structure in tightly packed Venice is confined to the building itself despite difficult conditions was interesting. The political and financial intrigue was not at all compelling.


    What does Holter Graham bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    The narrator was quite competent but the book was without dramatic content so he had little to work with.


    If this book were a movie would you go see it?

    No.


    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jennifer Worcester, MA, USA 02-09-07
    Jennifer Worcester, MA, USA 02-09-07 Member Since 2005
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    "Yawn."

    I was so excited to listen to this. I loved Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil -- both the book and the movie. But I should have listened to the other reviews I read about this and saved my credit. Don't waste your time.

    Of note: the narrator has a very soothing voice -- I did some of my best daydreaming while it was on...

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful

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