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Falling Palace: A Romance of Naples by Dan…

Falling Palace: A Romance of Naples

by Dan Hofstadter

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This is a very engaging book, well written and very interesting. The author, a New Yorker, narrates his life in Naples, where he has lived during different periods, focusing specially on his relationship with Benedetta, which took place while he was there for a year. The book is divided in two parts, in the first one the relationship with Benedetta and her friends and family unfolds together with descriptions of the city, its inhabitants, their way of life, their beliefs and superstitions. In the second part Benedetta appears in a new light, and with it the city also seems to be different. Naples is viewed through the eyes of someone who loves the city and therefore focuses on its most charming and interesting aspects. The same happens with his relationship with Benedetta in which he fails to see who she really is. Although Hofstadter tries to immerse himself in the city, his understanding of it is superficial,as it is his affair with Benedetta. But he shows that he is aware that he is an outsider, that he is in love, and that this limits his vision. He has the right attitude (and skills!) to write a book like this. This is a very enjoyable book to read. ( )
  alalba | Aug 2, 2009 |
A love letter to Naples - truly enjoyable. ( )
  100experiments | Jun 10, 2007 |
This is a hard book to pin down. What is it? A work of non-fiction but what is it telling about? It could be a novel in that it is a love story. It could be a travelogue. It could be a book of essays. It isn't a history of Naples or the Naplese. It isn't a history about Campania. It really isn't even a travel book. It doesn't describe Naples. It does introduce the reader to some fascinating people but not really the place. It tells nothing of what is in the city but somehow manages to convey a sense of place and atmosphere that I describe as a mysterious oldness. This is not a bad book and in fact I enjoyed reading it. It is a memoir of a love affair and the city just happens to be part of that. The LC classification for this book is D. That would place it as a history. It isn't. I think it should be in the C's where the literary memoirs are classed. ( )
  benitastrnad | Dec 31, 1969 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0375714286, Paperback)

A portrait of the sun-drenched volcanic city from an American who has lost his heart to the place and to a beguiling Neapolitan woman.

In Falling Palace Dan Hofstadter brilliantly reveals Naples, from the dilapidated architectural beauty to the irrepressible theater of everyday life. We witness the centuries-old festivals that regularly crowd the city’s jumbled streets, and eavesdrop on conversations that continue deep into the night. We browse the countless curio shops where treasures mingle with kitsch, and meet the locals he befriends. In and out of these encounters slips Benedetta, the object of the author’s affections, at once inviting and unfathomable. Weaving the tale of an elusive love together with a vivid portrayal of a legendary metropolis, this is a startling evocation of a magical place.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:20:23 -0400)

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Weaving the tale of an elusive romance with a vivid evocation of a legendary metropolis, Dan Hofstadter reveals Naples to us. He is our guide to the dilapidated architectural beauty and the irrepressible theater of the city's everyday life; the centuries-old festivals that regularly overtake the jumbled streets; the conversations in dialect that start in the cafs after work and continue into the night; the countless curio shops where treasures mingle with kitsch. And he brings to life on the page the natives he befriends, people whose gestures and superstitions seem as ancient as Vesuvius: a master baker who'd rather be playing the stock market; an agoraphobic aunt who must meddle by phone; and, always, Benedetta, the object of our narrator's fascination and affections, and, like her lifelong home-city, at once inviting and unfathomable.--From publisher description.… (more)

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