Biography, History, Literature, Reviews, Sociology

A love affair with Naples

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Offering a tale of passion, vivacity, and beauty appropriate for some Valentines weekend reading, Shirley Hazzard’s new book The Ancient Shore: Dispatches from Naples eloquently recounts the author’s love affair with a city, which, ironically, has recently gained more notoriety for the proliferation of both its crime, and its trash. But as reviewer Judith Martin notes in her article for this Sunday’s NYT Book Review, while acknowledging the city’s more contemporary conundrums, Hazzard’s insight into Naples’ rich history and culture is more than enough to redeem its romantic soul. From Martin’s review:

Shirley Hazzard, the noted Australian writer, lives in New York but has spent long stretches of time in a house on Capri. She counts herself as one of the few living Anglo-Americans with a lifelong crush on Naples, rather than the usual Italian cities: Florence, Rome or (as in my case) Venice. In Ancient Shore: Dispatches from Naples, she writes poetically about the lure of an intimate daily relationship with the architectural remains of Naples many rich historical epochs.…
She loves visiting other centuries, a lure that every history-hungry traveler will recognize, and beautifully describes the wonders strewn everywhere about the region. Her sense of the presence of past visitors like Augustus Caesar, Goethe, and Lord Byron should resonate with any lover of Italy.

See this Sunday’s New York Times to read the complete review, also read the introduction to the book, “Italian Hours.”