Cover image for Partita in Venice
Title:
Partita in Venice
Author:
Leviant, Curt.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
Livingston, AL : Livingston Press at The University of West Alabama, 1999.
Physical Description:
198 pages ; 24 cm
Language:
English
ISBN:
9780942979640

9780942979633
Format :
Book

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Central Library X Adult Fiction Central Closed Stacks
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Summary

Summary

"Two sensual women in a romantic, watery city - can they both be after Tommy Manning? If so, it's nearly a Hollywood script. The only trouble is this: one of them acts suspiciously like a guilty memory, or even a ghost. And she may be the latter. After all, hasn't Jack Benny just shown up as a Venetian gondolier, complete with outdated, whining jokes, to pole Tommy along glistening canals?" "In this comic-tragic novel, we follow Tommy M., who has written speeches for some Very Important People, in his so-suave, so-certain sophistication toward his so-boorish, so-certain downfall. As Tommy becomes more uncertain; as he encounters tall Aunt Maria and her gypsy potions; as he is physically trippedno less - by the "chief rabbi of Venice," who claims to have posed for a canvas by Antonio Canaletto; as he watches faces disappear and reappear along the Venetian calle and waterwaysas all this leaves him more uncertain, we become more certain. A doom stretching directly from Grecian times is after you, Tommy, isn't it? And your fine male nonchalance and coy humor won't help in the least when its long, fine talons grab hold..."--BOOK JACKET.Title Summary field provided by Blackwell North America, Inc. All Rights Reserved


Summary

Fiction. In Curt Leviant's new tragic-comic novel, PARTITA IN VENICE, "we follow Tommy M., who has written speeches for some Very Important People, in his so-suave, so-certain sophistication toward his so-boorish, so-certain downfall. As Tommy becomes more uncertain...we become more certain. A doom stretching straight from Grecian times is after you, Tommy, isn't it? And all your male nonchalance and coy humor won't help the least when its lone, fine talons grab hold.Rarely will you read the heavy hand of tragedy played so lightly. It's as if Leviant were a transmigrated Vivaldi whose strains had dipped into Venice's canals to find--surprise!--both Wagner and Sophocles."


Reviews 2

Publisher's Weekly Review

An ambitious novel that attempts to pay homage to the body of literature immortalizing Venice, Leviant's fourth book (after The Man Who Thought He Was Messiah) is sabotaged by its own insufferable protagonist. Middle-aged Thomas Manning has come to Venice for a reunion with a woman he courted passionately in the same city exactly 25 years earlier. Manning and Zoe parted acrimoniously, but agreed to meet at the fountain on the Piazza San Marco a quarter-century later, whatever their circumstances. Yet just before the rendezvous, Manning meets Happy, a pretty, scatterbrained, aggressively carnal young blonde who inexplicably reminds him of the more innocent Zoe, and he is torn between his new love and his old one. Manning is condescending toward both women, insisting that neither one is smart enough to understand his lightning wit, his subtle word play or the expansive vocabulary he uses to deliver bombastic monologues on the mysteries of Venice. Indeed, Manning is so arrogant and self-satisfied that the reader can only imagine he is meant to be a figure of fun. Yet Manning's point of view is never challenged, and the fun fails to materialize. Like his hero, the author does not wear his erudition lightly, and he injects heavy-handed literary references ("Now he knew what the prisoner felt in the puncturing machine in Kafka's `The Penal Colony'"), aggravated by uneven prose, which contains as many strained metaphors as original, well-turned phrases. The narrative does pick up momentum toward the end, as the appointed hour of the meeting nears and a horrifying truth is revealed in the very last line, but by then many havve lost patience with ManningÄand his creator. (Nov.) FYI: Leviant's The Man Who Thought He Was Messiah was nominated for the National Jewish Book Award. (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved


Publisher's Weekly Review

An ambitious novel that attempts to pay homage to the body of literature immortalizing Venice, Leviant's fourth book (after The Man Who Thought He Was Messiah) is sabotaged by its own insufferable protagonist. Middle-aged Thomas Manning has come to Venice for a reunion with a woman he courted passionately in the same city exactly 25 years earlier. Manning and Zoe parted acrimoniously, but agreed to meet at the fountain on the Piazza San Marco a quarter-century later, whatever their circumstances. Yet just before the rendezvous, Manning meets Happy, a pretty, scatterbrained, aggressively carnal young blonde who inexplicably reminds him of the more innocent Zoe, and he is torn between his new love and his old one. Manning is condescending toward both women, insisting that neither one is smart enough to understand his lightning wit, his subtle word play or the expansive vocabulary he uses to deliver bombastic monologues on the mysteries of Venice. Indeed, Manning is so arrogant and self-satisfied that the reader can only imagine he is meant to be a figure of fun. Yet Manning's point of view is never challenged, and the fun fails to materialize. Like his hero, the author does not wear his erudition lightly, and he injects heavy-handed literary references ("Now he knew what the prisoner felt in the puncturing machine in Kafka's `The Penal Colony'"), aggravated by uneven prose, which contains as many strained metaphors as original, well-turned phrases. The narrative does pick up momentum toward the end, as the appointed hour of the meeting nears and a horrifying truth is revealed in the very last line, but by then many havve lost patience with ManningÄand his creator. (Nov.) FYI: Leviant's The Man Who Thought He Was Messiah was nominated for the National Jewish Book Award. (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved


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