Venice: The Enchanted Mirror
Venice is a paradox, a city of pure artifice surrounded by nature’s ruthless elements and built on unstable marshland. It has been called ‘an enemy of the mind’, for it is more than anything a city of the senses, and one of Europe’s most seductive places.
In this rich and fascinating celebration of Venice, Alain Buisine, author, university professor and a long-time aficionado, takes us on a series of unconventional ‘tours’ to the very heart of Venice and its raison d’être: its colour.
With a wealth of eye-witness accounts and comments by its famous visitors, including Joseph Brodsky, Disraeli, Sartre, Mark Twain, Proust, Thomas Mann and Orson Welles he reveals to us, colour by colour, the dark byways of its sometimes brutal history, the brilliance of Venetian painting, its sumptuous architecture and embellishments, its many arts from glass blowing and boat-building to velvet, its dress, courtesans, fashions, food, music, politics, its crumbling ruins and abandoned gardens, its ghetto, its most famous sons, its eccentrics and its working people.
Nor does he neglect the other islands: the Giudecca, Burano, Torcello, Chioggia, San Michele – island of the dead – and Murano, now a depressed industrial area, but once the setting of beautiful villas and orchards where Casanova held his torrid assignations with a nun.
Witty and nostalgic, erudite and outspoken, Alain Buisine’s book is a marvellous and engrossing evocation of Europe’s capital of colour.
“In Venice colour is an almost physical phenomenon in a world that drifts like a mirage across the surface of a lagoon.”
Rachel Campbell-Johnston, ‘The Times’
“If you’re planning a visit to Venice… then reading this exquisitely-written book … should be high on your list of priorities… Written in an intimate, highly personal way, Buisine paints his love for the city with his words, and those of others, including Sartre, Proust, Mark Twain… It is not, of course, a guide book, but as an aid to exploring Venice its every bit as valuable.”
“An innovative book on the subject of one of the most written-about cities in the world. The colours of music, paintings, feelings and seasons are explored… A marvellous read, which those who love Venice will want to take with them on their next visit.”
“Uses words alone to describe the colour of Venice, relying on the author’s poetic rambles, supplemented by a chorus of scholars… For those who dream in colour.”
‘Good Book Guide’