The Politics of Washing

The Politics of Washing : Real Life in Venice

3.16 (163 ratings by Goodreads)
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This is the story of ordinary life in an extraordinary place. The beautiful city of Venice has been a fantasy land for people from around the globe for centuries, but what is it like to live there? To move house by boat, to get a child with a broken leg to hospital or to set off for school one morning only to find that the streets have become rivers and the playground is a lake full of sewage? When Polly Coles and her family left England for Venice, they discovered a city caught between modern and ancient life - where the locals still go on an annual pilgrimage to give thanks for the end of the Black Death; where schools are housed in renaissance palaces and your new washing machine can only be delivered on foot. This is a city perilously under siege from tourism, but its people refuse to give it up - indeed, they love it with a passion. The Politics of Washing is a fascinating window into the world of ordinary Venetians and the strange and unique place they call more

Product details

  • Paperback | 208 pages
  • 134 x 212 x 20mm | 280g
  • The Crowood Press Ltd
  • London, United Kingdom
  • English
  • 0719808782
  • 9780719808784
  • 146,766

Review quote

'No one should go to Venice without reading this book.' 'No book as thoughtful, perceptive and humane on Venice...has appeared since William Dean Howells wrote his Venetian Life in 1886.' -- Jonathan Keates Times Literary Supplement 'More cerebral than most Venetian travelogues or fictions...Coles clearly has ample knowledge but also the wit to have travelled light.' -- Caroline Jackson The Spectator 'Eloquent.' The New York Times 'A riveting account of ordinary life in an extraordinary place, packed with charming anecdotes that will have readers hooked on Venetian life.' -- Woodburn Independent 'The Politics of Washing is a readable memoir, at times funny, enjoyable, and feels very real.' Luxury Reading 'A funny, humbling tale of one family's attempt to live in one of the most beautiful places in the world.' Cayocosta72 Book Reviews Paul White, deputy vice-chancellor, University of Sheffield, is reading Polly Coles' The Politics of Washing: Real Life in Venice (Robert Hale, 2013). "Coles' background is in teaching and anthropology, and she recently moved with her family (including her Italian husband) to Venice. Here she brilliantly unmasks the prejudices and idiosyncrasies of the Venetians themselves, as well as mass tourism's impact on the city. Coping with Italian bureaucracy is never easy, but the added complexities of formal and informal rules governing life in a city that is slowly dying as a real place of residence are fascinating. Recommended for anyone about to visit or revisit Venice: I've been there many times and I now see the city in new ways." -- Paul White Times Higher Educationshow more

About Polly Coles

Polly Coles studied English at Oxford University before completing a Masters in Anthropology at the LSE, after which she started writing full-time. Polly abridges for BBC Radio 4's Book at Bedtime and Book of the Week. She and her partner, the violin maker Andrea Ortona, have four children and divide their time between Italy and more

Rating details

163 ratings
3.16 out of 5 stars
5 9% (15)
4 28% (45)
3 39% (63)
2 20% (32)
1 5% (8)
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