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The Politics of Washing: Real Life in Venice (Anglais) Broché – 29 mars 2013

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This is the story of ordinary life in an extraordinary place. The beautiful city of Venice has been a fantasy land for people from around the globe for centuries, but what is it like to live there? To move house by boat, to get a child with a broken leg to hospital or to set off for school one morning only to find that the streets have become rivers and the playground is a lake full of sewage? When Polly Coles and her family left England for Venice, they discovered a city caught between modern and ancient life - where the locals still go on an annual pilgrimage to give thanks for the end of the Black Death; where schools are housed in renaissance palaces and your new washing machine can only be delivered on foot. This is a city perilously under siege from tourism, but its people refuse to give it up - indeed, they love it with a passion. The Politics of Washing is a fascinating window into the world of ordinary Venetians and the strange and unique place they call home.

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Commentaires client les plus utiles sur (beta) 19 commentaires
8 internautes sur 8 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
Warts and Roses 23 juin 2013
Par takingadayoff - Publié sur
Format: Broché
Imagine what it's like to live in Venice. You probably already have imagined. Even allowing for the reality of occasional flooding and constant tourist crowds, it still seems like a magnificently romantic place to live.

Your dream of living in Venice most likely doesn't include four children ages 12 and under, but Polly Coles, a Londoner, and her Italian husband don't let their large family keep them from taking the plunge and they all move to Venice for a year. It makes for a change from the typical retire-to-a-villa-in-France-or-Italy memoir.

The book seems unstructured, although it's set up as a chronological narrative of a year in Venice. It's more a collection of observations and vignettes of their life in a city that is both eternal and endangered. Coles describes the complicated logistics of having a new washing machine delivered and the old one taken away in a town without streets or cars or elevators. In true British fashion, she doesn't let the threat of rain (or even actual rain) stop her from holding a children's birthday party in the campo. She goes to parent-teacher conferences and grapples with "tu' and 'lei', the familiar and polite forms of 'you'.

And, in true Venetian form, Coles participates in the most popular local sport, complaining about tourists.

There's just as much complaining and snark about inconsiderate neighbors as about there is about clueless tourists, and Coles often stops to appreciate the beauty and unique atmosphere of her adopted town. You get the full picture, the Venetian warts as well as roses.
5 internautes sur 5 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
As I knew it would be 22 juillet 2013
Par Judith Abraham - Publié sur
Format: Broché Achat vérifié
I have travelled to Venice a number of times, and have often wished
I could live there. Polly Coles has written of my own brief experiences,
and added so many more that involve her children and daily life. This
really is Venice, as I knew it would be...
4 internautes sur 4 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
The other side of Venice... 5 juin 2014
Par THE TEACH - Publié sur
Format: Format Kindle
I enjoyed how well written this memoir is...couldn't put it down, actually. If you've been to Venice and imagined yourself living there, wondering what it would really be like, this is one way to glimpse the possibility. If you are a lover of Donna Leon' s Brunetti books, as am I, this gives you an in depth look at the allusions made there about life in Venice...the tourists that the locals despise but which now sustain the city ...the gypsies, the beggars, the Africans selling fake merchandise, the struggles of everyday life in a city without cars, super markets and all the other things we think we can't live without. And how the Venetians always know you're not one of them no matter that it's December and the city is nearly devoid of tourists, no matter how hard you try and wish you were. An excellent read if you love Venice...and how can anyone not?
4 internautes sur 4 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
I loved this book 16 août 2014
Par Robert E. Montgomery, Jr - Publié sur
Format: Broché Achat vérifié
I loved this book. Although I have traveled to Venice many times, and consider it a magical place, I will appreciate it even more on my next visit because of the unique insights into the customs and viewpoints of native Venetians provided by Ms Coles. Her thoughtful insights and discoveries are of a kind seldom found in even the best "travel books", whose authors are almost always viewing a culture as observers, rather than day-to-day participants. The experiences that Ms Coles relates, as she struggled with game determination to expose her four young children to their Italian heritage are always interesting and often hilarious. Her vivid portrait of a Dickensian school officialdom is by itself sufficient reward for reading this book.
2 internautes sur 2 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
Travel writing that tells it like it is 29 août 2014
Par james finnegan - Publié sur
Format: Format Kindle
It was fate that I came into knowledge of this book. Confession time: I don't read much - maybe 10 books a year. My wife and her girlfriends had all read it as their choice book of the month, a selection that usually makes me turn my nose up (or back to the work emails or the renovations we are doing right now). However she persisted with me and eventually I caved and reluctantly began to read it. After the first chapter I was hooked. Polly really sheds light on the aspects of Venice that are glossed over by the travel books and the heavily doctored photographs you see. The depiction is clear: This is Venice as an actual city - in its stinking, bustling, rat-infested glory. Yes the cathedrals and the gondolas and the sonatas are all fantastic - but we've seen and heard all of these. This book answers the practical questions e.g. How do you transport a washing machine across town when your city is made out of water, how to keep your balance while punting. I will fight anyone who calls this a travel book!
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