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Berendt, John. THE CITY OF FALLING ANGELS. New York City, NY: The Penguin Press, 2005. Hardcover. First Edition/First Printing. 414 pages. As New/As New.

The author's second nonfiction account. One of the most important literary events of the year 2005. The First Hardcover Edition. Precedes and should not be confused with all other subsequent printings. Presents, after a hiatus of more than ten years, the second book by the former editor of Esquire and New York Magazines, who was catapulted to immense national and international fame with his breakthrough debut, "Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil". The city is Venice, which Berendt rushed to three days after the Fenice Opera House, whose legendary status is matched only by the Milan, burned to a crisp. Using this catastrophic event and its aftermath, Berendt deploys the same incomparable skills he showed in his previous account to capture the character of a place through its prismatic citizens and expatriates, all of them colorful, idiosyncratic, and fascinating. It is not too much to say that Berendt has so much more that is important and enriching to say about the inner and outer lives of his impressive cast of characters than most contemporary novelists do. He also says it with grace, a keen ear, and love of people and what makes them "tick". The Savannah of "Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil" was redolent of Southern charm and cunning, the secrets and lies that kept the fraying fabric of an old place together. Venice is not just another old place. It is The Old World itself, the city-as-museum. As a subject, it is a new and altogether different challenge for Berendt because unlike his "re-discovery" of the Savannah, Venice has been the central character of many great literary pieces across the centuries. Henry James, Thomas Mann, Mary McCarthy, Joseph Brodsky, Jan Morris, Ian McEwan, and Susan Sontag, to name a select few, readily come to mind among late-modern writers alone. "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 serves 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 book" (Publisher's blurb). Berendt's debut stayed put on The New York Times bestseller list for four years, a record that no other book has matched let alone surpassed. For the last ten years, the author has been dogged with questions about what he will write next. Here, at last, is his tantalizing answer. A "must-have" title for John Berendt collectors. This copy is very prominently and beautifully signed in blue fountain pen on the title page by John Berendt. This title is now highly collectible. This is one of surprisingly few signed copies of the First Hardcover Edition still available online and has no flaws, a pristine, Venetian beauty. A very scarce signed copy thus. One of the finest living American writers. A flawless copy. . ISBN 1594200580. $50.00

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