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Download Venice: Pure City Audiobook

Extended Audio Sample Venice: Pure City, by Peter Ackroyd Click for printable size audiobook cover
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (264 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Peter Ackroyd Narrator: Simon Vanc Publisher: Tantor Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date:
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The Venetians’ language and way of thinking set them aside from the rest of Italy. They are an island people, linked to the sea and to the tides rather than the land. This latest work from the incomparable Peter Ackroyd, like a magic gondola, transports its listeners to that sensual and surprising city.

His account embraces facts and romance, conjuring up the atmosphere of the canals, bridges, and sunlit squares, the churches and the markets, the festivals, and the flowers. He leads us through the history of the city, from the first refugees arriving in the mists of the lagoon in the fourth century to the rise of a great mercantile state and its trading empire, the wars against Napoleon, and the tourist invasions of today. Everything is here: the merchants on the Rialto and the Jews in the ghetto; the glassblowers of Murano; the carnival masks and the sad colonies of lepers; the artists—Bellini, Titian, Tintoretto, and Tiepolo; and the ever-present undertone of Venice’s shadowy corners and dead ends, of prisons and punishment, wars and sieges, and scandals and seductions.

Ackroyd’s Venice: Pure City is a study of Venice much in the vein of his lauded London: The Biography. Like London, Venice is a fluid, writerly exploration organized around a number of themes. History and context are provided in each chapter, but Ackroyd’s portrait of Venice is a particularly novelistic one, both beautiful and rapturous. We could have no better guide—enjoying Venice: Pure City is, in itself, a glorious journey to the ultimate city.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “Ackroyd—the marvelously erudite and staggeringly industrious English writer—[has compiled] an encyclopedic amount of general and arcane factual information and then [arranged] it less chronologically than thematically—much as one might encounter it in the course of a long walk over fascinating terrain in the company of a knowledgeable but never pedantic companion. It’s an experience rendered all the more agreeable by the independent turn of Ackroyd’s critical imagination and lapidary quality of his prose.”

    Los Angeles Times

  • “Peter Ackroyd fully explores one of the world’s most undeniably glorious cities…Like his acclaimed London, Ackroyd’s account isn’t a chronological history of this charming Italian metropolis. The structure and style of Venice is engagingly impressionistic and digressive…Magnificently crafted.”

    Boston Globe

  • "[Venice: Pure City] is a swarm—a storm—of dazzling details that coalesce into an artful picture…Ackroyd’s is a glittering introduction to Venice. There is not much new that can be said about the city, but Ackroyd says it with ripeness - like those Venetian pears, only now it is the reader’s appetite that is whetted. Godspeed.”

    San Francisco Chronicle

Listener Opinions

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 by Tom Torkelson | 2/14/2014

    " If you're not reeeealy interested in Venice, don't even pick it up. I've never read a "history" that was compiled so erratically; not chronological or thematic, just kind of wandering around repeating itself over and over and over. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 by Karen | 1/21/2014

    " Ackroyd is a lush, expansive writer and his main theory, that the geography and political situation of Venice, surrounded by water and set between the West and the East has been decisive in the development of its particular culture and form of government is a very beguiling one. There's a true cornucopia of information in this book, it pours out in a glittering mass that enchants and instructs, but it isn't always situated in history very precisely, there is no timeline to give the whole thing a thread that runs through. He does divide it into various parts but they are not terribly clear-cut categories: Commerce and Trade are surely interchangeable, and what does The Living City convey? Well, it ain't dead, that's for sure. In the end I felt he was going round and round and then coming back to where he'd started: absolutely! typical of anyone's walking experience in that most labyrinthine of cities, but not how I want to read a book for information. Oi'll give it severn. (Brummie accent) "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 by Maura | 1/15/2014

    " Did the audio version while driving to DC and all I could see was Venice ahead of me. Waiting to return to this beautiful city. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 by Kathy | 1/11/2014

    " What a pity Peter Ackroyd doesn't have anything interesting or original to say about Venice. This is just a series of seemingly unrelated and unsubstantiated assertions, without the benefit of any argument or evidence. Poor. I, too, could make far-reaching and sweeping generalisations about Venice, but why would I? And who would believe me? I don't believe Peter Ackroyd and I don't know why any publisher felt that there was a need for this book. "

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