In the aftermath of the First World War, Hugh Thurne, a British diplomat involved in the peace negotiations, seeks solace in his rented palazzo in Venice rather than returning to his wife and the charade of his marriage in London. Although profoundly disturbed by the grim long-term prospects for peace, he has faith in the city's power to raise his spirits. Hugh eagerly looks forward to visits with his old friends Giocomo and Valentina Venier in their dilapidated palazzo by the Grand Canal, renewing his affair with a young opera singer Emanuela, and the arrival of Violet Mancroft, the widow of his best friend lost in the war. What he does not anticipate is the shadow lying over the Venier family's future--nor has he reckoned with the vagaries of his own heart.
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William Riviere was born in 1954. After graduating from Cambridge, he spent several years in Venice and now teaches at the University Urbino in Italy. He was recently made a fellow of the Royal Society of Literature.
Simon Vance is an award-winning actor and an AudioFile Golden Voice with over forty Earphones Awards. He has won thirteen prestigious Audie Awards and was Booklist's very first Voice of Choice in 2008. He has narrated more than eight hundred audiobooks over almost thirty years, beginning when he was a radio newsreader for the BBC in London.From AudioFile:
BY THE GRAND CANAL is an atmosphere in search of a plot. For atmosphere it's hard to do better than Venice, and casting the story at the close of WWI hardly alters things for Venice-lovers, as few cities can have changed so little in a century. Simon Vance does his best with stork-like Brit Hugh Thurne; his impecunious Venetian friends, the Veniers, in their threadbare palazzo; the two attractive Venier children; Thurn's operatic mistress, Emanuela; and Violet, the widow of Hugh's best friend. But Vance's female voices are unconvincing, Fenice is alternately pronounced "Feneese" and" Fenee-tchay" (why?), and the pace is slow to the point of slack. Pretty thin gruel. B.G. © AudioFile 2006, Portland, Maine-- Copyright © AudioFile, Portland, Maine
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