The act of reading ... begins on a flat surface, counter or page, and then gets stirred and chopped and blended until what we make, in the end, is a dish, or story, all our own.
— Adam Gopnik
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April 29, 2014


They walked because not to do so would be to throw away the joy of this waning day. It had grown warm enough to encourage the wisteria buds to flex their muscles, like athletes who scrape their feet on the ground prior to a sprint or a leap; they'd begun their yearly creep over the brick wall of the garden on the opposite side of the canal they were passing, Brunetti noticed. Within a week, their panicles would be suspended over the water, and after another their lavender eruption would take place overnight, hurtling scent across to every passer-by, enough to make anyone who caught a whiff wonder what in heaven's name he or she was doing going to work on a day like this, staring at a computer screen, when outside, life was starting all over again. ...
      If life had a smell, it was to be found in springtime. There were times when  Brunetti wanted to bite at the air to try to taste it, impossible as he knew that to be. It was too soon to be ordering a spritz, but his desire for rum punch has disappeared with the last cold day.
      As had happened to him since boyhood, Brunetti felt a surge of directionless goodwill towards everything and everyone around him, as at the end of a period of emotional hibernation. His eye approved of all it saw, and the possibility of a walk was an intoxication. Like a sheepdog, he guided Vianello the way he wanted to go, leading him past S. Antonin and out to the riva.
from By Its Cover, by Donna Leon
For me, a Brunetti is always a treat, but one where the cover notes promise that 'In the pages of Leon's novels, the beloved conversations of the Brunetti family have drawn on topics of art and literature, but books are at the heart of this novel in a way they have never been before,' and where this passage is what going to work feels like, is bellissimo ... especially if you have been inside staring at a computer screen for what seems like years. :)  It's not all that warm here yet, but we're in that week when we seem to go from bare trees to flowering branches everywhere, overnight.  You forget how lovely that is!

{image found here}


JoAnn said...

I'll meet Brunetti eventually... Death at la Fenice is on my kindle.

JaneGS said...

I love Leon's Brunetti's novels so much too, and the excerpt really captures what captivates me about the books. She makes Brunetti and his family and colleagues so real--we really can get to know them. I tried her new non-Brunetti book and it definitely didn't have the same magic, not with regards the likeability of the main character nor the charms of Venice itself.

This is definitely on my reading list :)

Brett said...

Really nice to see someone else that appreciated this passage of writing.

I'm writing a review of this book and found your page when I googled that part of the book.

Great blog too, BTW!

Thank you for visiting!

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