Venetian Stories by Jane Turner Rylands

Set in Venice

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JANE TURNER RYLANDS grew up in Ohio and graduated from The College of William and Mary in Virginia. She taught English for the University of Maryland’s European division for seventeen years. She has lived in Venice since 1973 and is married to Philip Rylands, the director of the Peggy Guggenheim Collection.

Jane Turner Rylands

Venetian Stories

JACKET NOTES:  In these twelve wry and fascinating stories Jane Turner Rylands has brilliantly evoked the hidden and day-to-day life of one of Europe’s most mysterious cities. The thoroughly engaging characters who are the focus of these stories are from different backgrounds and various Venetian neighborhoods, but their lives—and the stories—overlap and intersect in surprising and playful ways. We meet such workers as a postman, a gondolier, and a mason; and from a different circle, an architect, the mayor, a visitor (an American decorator), a contessa, a baronessa, and an English lord. There are avenging ghosts, a deceitful husband, and a fiendish mother among these.
Through Rylands’ eyes we observe the amusing quirks and habits of the natives as well as of outsiders who are absorbed into this very closed society with all its rivalries, petty jealousies, and hierarchies. For all its elegance and sophistication, Venice comes to life as a small town. Suddenly, we have a sense of what is happening behind the seemingly inscrutable Gothic facades of those timeworn palazzos lining the Grand Canal.
These stories draw us into a complex, scheming, almost farcical society, but the poignant subtext is the profound fragility of a city with an uncertain future. Jane Turner Rylands has written a book that is as memorable and luminous as Venice itself.
(© Pantheon Books)