Come with me to beautiful Venice, the city of culture and love! But wait.. wouldn’t you like to know about the people living in Venice? The ones who belong to the city of over a hundred islands and as many canals? The ones who hurriedly pass the Piazza San Marco, packed with tourists, and disappear? Follow me and enter Brendan Gisby’s Venetian Lives…
This novella contains four short stories about Venice but instead of focusing on the city’s beauty and gorgeous buildings, Brendan Gisby shows us the world of the city’s residents and their Venetian Lives, that takes place beyond tourists’ favourites as the Piazza San Marco and its stunning Basilica di San Marco. Still, it would not be about Venice if not love, deceit, faith and pretences all play a part…
We meet Monseigneur Guiseppe, who is anxious and terrified something will happen.. At the same time, we feel his devotion. To his ‘job’ if you can call it that – he would surely prefer calling it a vocation. To his patron saint, Santa Lucia. One night, all those years ago, changed his life forever and he dreads every anniversary of that day since. Like all Catholics, Monseigneur Giuseppe struggles with feelings of guilt. Will his determination win this time? Monsieur Giuseppe only prays for the next day to arrive.
Who can ever perceive what is in another’s mind? Who can ever know how someone else feels? You have got to admire ‘The Dreamer’ who does not care what others think but goes through life.. dreaming. In solitude and seemingly at peace with the world and himself. An almost non-existence life…
Now here is a man who hates the tourists flooding his – HIS – city. He is successful and not because of but despite the bl*dy tourists! Those who dare to enter his shop will have to be taught a lesson – his goods are for the Venetians. Venetians are proud people and do not mingle with outsiders. Behind this facade hides a man who, like all fathers, wants his children to succeed and surpass him. Who, like all children, wants to be recognised by his own father. Like Venice itself, the shopkeeper’s attitude hides inner insecurity…
A man and a woman meet and fall in love. He is from Venice and well.. you don’t leave the city of love. Wait.. she did. She could not take it any more. She was the outsider who was not allowed in. He laughed away her concerns – that’s Venice, baby – but now, he cannot face his city in the eye. Where does he belong? His heart has to make a choice.
First, I want to say that this novella was over way too quick! I did not want it to end – was eager to learn more about Monseigneur Giuseppe who has stolen my heart. Such a sweet old man who defies his worst enemy – I will not tell you more but if one believes in God then one knows evil is somewhere, somehow present. I felt for Monseigneur Giuseppe who sees no alternative but to serve his Santa Lucia for the remainder of his life.
The dreamer was the most difficult character to get a grip on but then I thought, isn’t this story more about those around him than about the dreamer himself? In a way, he lives his own life regardless of what others say and think which, in a sense, makes him an exile who never really belongs. Like the wife in the last story. It is obvious that her husband does not take her concerns seriously – how could he? He is a Venetian!
Brendan Gisby paints a picture of living in beautiful Venice, a city that has its own set of rules, of behaviour. Its own way to handle and cope with the never-ending presence of the flood of tourists finding their way to the Piazza San Marco and the famous churches – beyond the tourist shops and their obligatory merchandise.
Everyone has their own way of interpreting the wonderfully narrated stories in Venetian Lives but to me, foremost, with his well-chosen words the author created a feeling of melancholy – an atmosphere of living and being constrained – of loving Venice but at the same time, feeling trapped within the city. Read Venetian Lives and learn more about the devil living in the hearts of the Venetians…
About the Author
Brendan Gisby was born in Edinburgh, Scotland, halfway through the 20th century, and was brought up just along the road in South Queensferry (the Ferry) in the shadow of the world-famous Forth Bridge. He presently lives in splendid isolation in the wilds of Strathearn in Scotland. Retiring from a business career in 2007, Brendan has devoted himself to writing. To date, he has published four novels, four biographies and several short story collections, among which Venetian Lives.
Brendan is also the founder of McStorytellers – http://mcstorytellers.com -, a website which showcases the work of Scottish-connected short story writers.
Venetian Lives is available at Amazon
|Publisher||CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform (3 May 2012)|