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Tausend Tage in Venedig. Tausend Tage in der…
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Tausend Tage in Venedig. Tausend Tage in der Toskana

by Marlena de Blasi

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I'd picked this up not expecting too much if the first chapters didn't capture my attention. I was greatly surprised that the writing was so good, I kept up reading till the end. A memoir of a long divorced woman, with now grown adult children, who meets a man in Venice during a working visit. They fall in love, she lets herself fall in love with the city and so book moves on from there. Touted as a romance, it definitely has an emphasis on the romantic elements of love and Venetian impressions that everyone wants to claim as their own. De Blasi is a gourmet food writer so everything has great detail, not just the food and its presentation.
Most men wouldn't go for this book, but I really enjoyed the display of writing talent and ability to reflect on ones own life so well. Women will love this, and I hope they would pick it up. If you have never been to Venice, this will not interest you. If you have, then you'll look forward to the time you'll be surprised by de Balsi's way with words. Born Catholic and married in one of the many Venetian Roman Catholic Churches, she makes it seem only natural to so. Her husband was educated by the Jesuits and isn't proud of that, but what are you going to do? Only two printing errors: Taught for taut, and Ascension mistaken for Assumption. Still worth the time comparing your own memories of that great place with those of de Balsi's. ( )
  sacredheart25 | May 10, 2016 |
In November 1993 the author arrived in Venice with two friends in tow. As they lunched at a small local place, she noticed a table of four men seated nearby. After all the other patrons had left and she and her friends were alone in the restaurant, the waiter approached and said there was a telephone call for her. “Not possible,” she answered. They had only just arrived that morning and had not yet notified their friends where they were, surely they hadn’t told anyone where they were going for lunch! But the waiter insisted and she went to the phone, to hear a “deep, deliberate, Italian voice I’d never heard before” ask – Is it possible for you to meet me tomorrow at the same time? It’s very important for me.

She resisted for several days, but he kept finding her. And when she returned to St Louis, there he was two days later - come across the ocean to insist she return with him to Venice. He was “tired of waiting” for his life to begin, for joy and love to come to him.

This is a delicious memoir of a love that surprised these two middle-aged people – a Venetian banker and an American journalist (and chef). I am smiling thinking about it. I kept reading passages aloud to anyone who would listen (and even a few who didn’t want to listen). De Blasi is not only in love with Fernando (“the stranger”), she is in love with Venice. No, she is in love with life, and she imbues her writing with that love. Is it all smooth sailing? Of course not. He lives, and prefers, a Spartan life – simple, small meals, a functional but uninspired and colorless apartment. She is vibrant, wearing “too-red” lipstick, and wanting to surround herself in rich fabrics and deep colors. And, she is a chef – she loves to cook large elaborate meals, to nurture people. Oh, and she isn’t fluent in Italian, much less the Venetian dialect, and he doesn’t speak English. And yet … She held tight to her friend’s advice: “Take it in your hands and hold tight to this love. If it comes, it comes only once.”

Read this. And enjoy life!
( )
  BookConcierge | Jan 13, 2016 |
A Thousand Days in Venice was not at all the book I was expecting. I love the idea of meeting a stranger in a foreign country and falling in love. I had a harder time imagining myself leaving everything to be with him; allowing him to be in charge because I knew he needed to be (as Marlena does). I loved the description of Venice and the home Marlena created for herself and her new husband. I even copied some of the recipes.

July 2013 ( )
  mlake | Apr 28, 2015 |
Good book. Thank you for letting me borrow the book! I have wanted to read it since I heard a Radio 4 radio play based on the book. If I didn't know a couple who had a similar experience (except that the locations involved were France and California) I would probably be more dismissive of her whirlwind relationship with "Peter Sellers." But instead I found myself comparing the ins and outs of their relationship to those details of my parents' friends and nodding knowingly when things matched up. ( )
  pussreboots | Oct 22, 2014 |
This is a great book. Nothing as I thought it would be. Pleasantly surprised. It is so very rich in identifying the culture of the Italian life and rich history of friends, family and relationships and how it is intertwined with the food and traditions of Tuscan living.

Marlena De Blasi builds a fabulous story of truth and tribal knowledge steeped deeply in what we are only beginning to realize has been present for hundreds, maybe thousands of years in Italy. Detailing the blurred line of family and friends. How the celebration of life is so closely tied with the reality of death and the paradigm we view it through. And of course the ever present fascination with food and wine and traditions and history steeped in such a simple thing as olive oil and how the olives are harvested and how they are pressed and the profound differences of tastes and textures and pairing with how and with what it is eaten with.

De Blasi is an exquisite writer with a freshness of language that adds immensely to the simple story she tells of a chaotic yet simple life that she writes about. It is also a deep and enriching love story on several levels that will make you laugh with envy and cry with the touching reality of a crushing, inevitable truth we all must face. You will be uplifted and glad you read this little gem. ( )
  Hanneri | Feb 25, 2014 |
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Tausend Tage in Venedig: Noch lange bevor der Zug in den Bahnhof von Santa Lucia eingefahren ist, bleibe ich auf meinem Platz sitzen.
Tausend Tage in der Toskana: "Ce l'abbiamo fatto, Chou-Chou, wir haben's getan", ruft er, benutzt den Namen, den er mir gegeben hat.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0345457641, Paperback)



He saw her across the Piazza San Marco and fell in love from afar. When he sees her again in a Venice café a year later, he knows it is fate. He knows little English; and she, a divorced American chef, speaks only food-based Italian. Marlena thinks she is incapable of intimacy, that her heart has lost its capacity for romantic love. But within months of their first meeting, she has packed up her house in St. Louis to marry Fernando—“the stranger,” as she calls him—and live in that achingly lovely city in which they met.

Vibrant but vaguely baffled by this bold move, Marlena is overwhelmed by the sheer foreignness of her new home, its rituals and customs. But there are delicious moments when Venice opens up its arms to Marlena. She cooks an American feast of Mississippi caviar, cornbread, and fried onions for the locals . . . and takes the tango she learned in the Poughkeepsie middle school gym to a candlelit trattoría near the Rialto Bridge. All the while, she and Fernando, two disparate souls, build an extraordinary life of passion and possibility.

Featuring Marlena’s own incredible recipes, A Thousand Days in Venice is the enchanting true story of a woman who opens her heart—and falls in love with both a man and a city.


(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:25:15 -0400)

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"When Fernando spots Marlena in a Venice cafe, he believes he's found the one. Marlena is less sure. A divorced American chef and food writer traveling in Italy, she thought she was satisfied with her life. Yet within months of meeting Fernando, she has sold her house in St. Louis, quit her job, given away most of her possessions, kissed her two grown children good-bye, and moved to Venice to marry "the stranger," as she calls Fernando. Once there, she finds herself sitting in sugar-scented pasticcerie, strolling through sixteenth-century palazzi, renovating an apartment overlooking the Adriatic, and preparing her wedding in an ancient stone church." "But nothing perfect is ever easy. Fernando speaks no English. The only Italian Marlena speaks is the language of food. He's a buttoned-up pessimist. She's a serene optimist. She wears bright red lipstick and vintage Norma Kamali. He finds her lipstick too bright and the meals she makes too much for him. It's "festival cooking," he says. Fernando likes things simple, and there's nothing simple about Marlena." "As this transplanted American learns about the peculiarities of Venetian culture, we are treated to an honest, often comic view of how two people, both set in their ways but also set on being together, build a life. In the end, Marlena shows Fernando how to let go and live well. And he shows her that tenderness really does exist. Filled with the foods and flavors of Italy, A Thousand Days in Venice is the true story of a woman falling in love with both a man and a city."--BOOK JACKET.… (more)

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