Venice is a Fish: A Cultural Guide
Built on an inverted forest, paved with a tortoiseshell of boulders, Venice is a maze of tiny alleys, bridges and squares. Tiziano Scarpa wanders through the city, recounting the customs and secrets that only Venetians know. Beware the buckets on the Zattere in springtime: the cuttlefish inside will squirt ink on your shoes; men must be prepared to carry their consorts at high tide, all must be able to make the sign of the devil with their toes and no one should leave without playing the well-curb that sounds like a steel drum in San Silvestro. With everything from practical advice for aspiring Venetian lovers to hints at where to find the best bacaro, Scarpa waves the tourist in the right direction and, without naming a single restaurant, hotel or bar, relates the secret language needed to experience the real Venice. So ignore the street signs - why fight the labyrinth? Venice, the fish, is ready to swallow you whole.
- Paperback | 160 pages
- 127 x 175 x 14mm | 175g
- 14 Feb 2008
- Profile Books Ltd
- Serpent's Tail
- London, United Kingdom
A gorgeous tribute to one of the strangest and most beautiful cities on Earth. Was it Henry James or Mary McCarthy who said, "There is nothing new to say about Venice"? Tiziano Scarpa has proved them both wrong -- Erica Jong This gem of a book offers practical advice but in a distinctly lyrical tone. If you are lucky enough to be going there, take Venice is a Fish and you will want for nothing. * Sunday Telegraph * Scarpa's approach is from the soul, not the mind... Do people fall in love more easily in Venice? Scarpa's answer features a theologian, a psychoanalyst, a world- champion bodybuilder and a poet; and, like everything else in this book, it says more about Venice than you'd ever imagine * Independent on Sunday * To write originally about Venice must be one of the greatest challenges a writer can take up. Every year, hundreds of books on the city are published, but none resembles this one... Scarpa warns his readers to beware the lethal "aesthetic radioactivity" projected by the buildings and paintings of Venice. I fear his sharp eye and quick ear can only make that bewitching disease more acute, helped by Shaun Whiteside's felicitous translation * Independent * If you want to truly delve under the skin of Venice and understand it from a local perspective, this book is definitely worth a read * Real Travel * This is a very unsettling guide to Venice. It contains the addresses of no museums, hotels or restaurants. In Venice is a Fish, the author invites the reader to partake in sensual experiences that will enable her to discover the most intimate facets of the city. It's a funny initiation ceremony where one learns how to stand on a gondola, to cross barefoot muddy canals and caress eyes shut the faces of statues. Tiziano Scarpa's intelligence is a delight. Using stylistic audacity and literary remixes, he carries off an ambitious intellectual enterprise. * Elle (France) * A beautifully written book with one of the most refreshing insights into Venice that has ever been published. You'll be gripped from the first line * Italy Magazine * One of the most brilliant narrators of the 90s, Tiziano Scarpa takes us on a physical and emotional tour in this portrait of his native city. He offers the visitor some personal anecdotes, folklore, legends and curiosities * L'Arena * A young writer, one of the most talented of his generation... Scarpa succeeds in making you penetrate the urban body as if you were the character of a novel * L'Espresso * Tiziano Scarpa paints Venice as a primitive and all encompassing organism, maternal and mysterious * L'Indice * Tiziano Scarpa describes his city in nine chapters, without the usual list of things itineraries to follow, and brings to life a richly documented guide, full of anecdotes * La Provincia * A short, wonderful ode to the city. To touch it, feel it, describe it in all its bends and angles, to caress the myth, this is the aim of the writer. He ends his stroll in the "Venetian langour" with these words that constitute a declaration of love: "There is no better place than this one" * Le Figaro *
About Tiziano Scarpa
Tiziano Scarpa was born in Venice in 1963. He is a poet, novelist, playwright and essayist. He has written a number of acclaimed novels including Eyes On the Broiler and Western Kamikaze. His radio play Pop Corn, received international critical acclaim and was aired by the BBC and other European radio stations. He regularly speaks at creative writing conferences and writes as a journalist for national newspapers. In 1997 he won the 49th Italia Prize for his writing. He lives in Venice.