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Florence: The Writer and the City

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 25, 2002

    Not Impressed

    As someone who has spent a lot of time in Florence, over the past 20 years, I am not impressed with this book. It doesn't say anything new. Other non-fiction books by other foreigners, writing about Florence, have covered most of the topics that Leavitt writes about. Much of his book is a re-hashing of literary criticism. He talks about the literary figures from other countries who spent time in Florence and he discusses how they felt & what they said about the city. This has been well-covered by other writers. It is nothing new. It strikes me that Leavitt doesn't even mention Florentines themselves, leaving me wondering if, as an ex-pat living in Florence, if he even knows any Florentines at all. Of course he must, but the total lack of a Florentine in his book strikes me as odd. Isn't that a large part of what readers enjoy, when reading about a foreign place? The sense that they're actually getting to know the locals through reading the book? Look how much readers enjoyed Peter Mayle's books on Provence. This was due, in large part, to the way the author introduced the reader to the local people. It brought a lot of flavor to the book. Leavitt's book lacks flavor in my opinion. For me, most of his discussions have a tired energy to them.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 8, 2002

    jacket synopsis hyperbole

    As the previous reviewer, I, too spent years living in Italy and spent much time in Florence. I was so looking forward to reading it and reigniting the excitement of the city and its people seen through the eyes of an expatriot. This book didn't do it. However, "Paris to the Moon", by Adam Gopnik, was thoroughly enjoyable. More along the lines of my expectation of the "Delicate Case".

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