City of Falling Angels

Version: Unabridged
Author: John Berendt
Narrator: Holter Graham
Genres: Fiction & Literature, Suspense
Publisher: Random House Audio Publishing Group
Published In: September 2005
# of Units: 11 CDs
Length: 13 hours
Ratings:
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Overview

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 bestseller 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%. 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 Fenice 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. In the course of his investigations, Berendt introduces us to a rich cast of characters: a prominent Venetian poet whose shocking 'suicide' prompts his skeptical friends to pursue a murder suspect on their own; the First Family of American expatriates who lose possession of the family palace after four generations of ownership; an organization of high-society, party-going Americans who raise money to preserve the art and architecture of Venice, while quarreling in public among themselves, questioning each other's motives and drawing startled Venetians into the fray; a contemporary Venetian surrealist painter and outrageous provocateur; the master glassblower of Venice; and numerous others--stool-pigeons, scapegoats, hustlers, sleepwalkers, believers in Martians, the Plant Man, the Rat Man, and Henry James.

Berendt tells a tale full of atmosphere and surprise as the stories build, one after the other, ultimately coming together to reveal a world as finely drawn as a still-life painting. The fire and its aftermath serve as a leitmotif that runs throughout, adding to the elements of chaos, corruption and crime, and contributing to the ever-mounting suspense of this brilliant audiobook.

Bonus feature includes an exclusive interview with the author!

Reviews (14)

Well written

Written by Anonymous on January 15th, 2013

  • Book Rating: 4/5

Enjoyed this book. Very descriptive and visual with good character development

City of Falling Angels

Written by Anonymous on January 26th, 2012

  • Book Rating: 4/5

This was a wonderful book about the unique people of and visual tapestry of one of the most enchanting places in the world, Venice. Venice is its own character, much like Savanah was in this author's book, Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil. This book would make a good movie too!

City of Falling Angels

Written by franimaldoc on September 3rd, 2010

  • Book Rating: 5/5

This was a delightful tale of the people of Venice and their reactions to a disastrous fire in a priceless and irreplaceable theater. While it is a story about an event, the true adventure is in meeting the inhabitants of this unique and relatively isolated community. All small communities have characters, but the steeping of Venice in its rich and artistic history seems to have steeped its characters to a deep resonance, at the same time that the very same history seems to have trapped those characters in a dance that doesn't seem to have changed much over the centuries. At the same time that one is delighted to have met them, one is left with the melancholy feeling that one is reading the closing chapter in a veritable encyclopedia of charming and harmless eccentricity as well as the saga of the city's art.

City of Falling Angels

Written by Altheabay on November 10th, 2007

  • Book Rating: 5/5

This book is not like a regular work of fiction. It is more like a travel diary. I liked it very much. At first I was put off by it and had to make myself continue with the listening. I also went back to some reviews of the book to relook at what professional reviewers had to say about the process the book takes to tell the story. After that I had no problem with it and loved the people and the stories attached to them. I often wondered at how the author got away with saying some of these things about real people, but decided the lawyers had probably taken care of him on that score. I love Venice, and this book made me love it even more. Don't go here to look for fast action, this is a easy, smooth read of people's life flowing in and out, just like all our lives do. A

City of Falling Angels

Written by Sara Lott from Sumrall, MS on July 15th, 2007

  • Book Rating: 1/5

Terrible--rambled on and on. Sent it back before I was finished. Boring, boring, boring. Way too many characters to follow. What a disappointment after "Midnight!"

City of Falling Angels

Written by Anonymous on July 1st, 2007

  • Book Rating: 1/5

Too slow starting. Kept trying to stay with it. Finally gave up.

tedious

Written by Anonymous on June 9th, 2007

  • Book Rating: 1/5

I kept listening because I thought eventually there would be a story. There seemed to be some small stories that never came together - and those weren't interesting. It was tedious. The facts about Venise were interesting, but I'm sure there's a more interesting travel book out there - or even an history book. Ugh

TERRIBLE

Written by Sara Lott on May 2nd, 2007

  • Book Rating: 1/5

I absolutely did not enjoy this book. In fact, I didn't finish listening to it past the 5th CD. I kept waiting for it to get better; unfortunately it never did. Too many plot lines; very rambling. I was very disappointed; as a fan of "Midnight" I was expecting much more.

Outstanding!

Written by Anonymous on December 1st, 2006

  • Book Rating: 5/5

This book was absolutely fabulous. I was hanging on every word and so engrossed with Venice that I found it difficult to stop the disc at any given point. Berendt is a master storyteller who truly lives with his characters, giving you the feeling you are there with him and them. I highly recommend this novel.

tediously boring

Written by Laurel Ralston on November 30th, 2006

  • Book Rating: 2/5

I almost *never* put down a book or stop listening to a recorded book, but I couldn't listen beyond the 3rd or 4th disc on this (I can't even remember which disc because my mind was so numbed by listening to it). It started out interestingly enough, but too many details and plot lines get tangled up and, perhaps it's my simple mind, I found myself not listening but thinking about other things. The reading was not all that exciting either. And I've listened to other stories that were just as actionless, but kept my interest. This one didn't.

Author Details

Author Details

Berendt, John

The son of two writers, John Berendt grew up in Syracuse, New York. He earned a B.A. in English from Harvard University, where he worked on the staff of The Harvard Lampoon. After graduating in 1961, he moved to New York City to pursue a career in publishing. Berendt has written for David Frost and Dick Cavett, was editor of "New York" magazine from 1977 to 1979, and wrote a monthly column for "Esquire" from 1982 to 1994.
Berendt first traveled to Savannah in the early 1980s, when he realized that he could fly there for a three-day weekend for the price of "a paillard of veal served on a b