Written by one of the leading novelists of the twentieth century, An Italian Journey is an extraordinarily subtle and entertaining travel narrative. First published in France in 1954, An Italian Journey is Jean Giono's tale of his journey to the land whence his father's people came. A most reluctant traveler, Giono nonetheless discovers a strange beauty not only in such traditional sights as the palazzos and canals of Venice, but in people and objects usually ignored or forgotten: wistful waiters, suspicious hairdressers, pugnacious men of God, recalcitrant coffee machines, telescopic umbrellas, and abandoned field machinery. Giono's world is one where a street gathering that seems to verge on revolution is in reality a stamp collectors' market, and where inept municipal musicians can suddenly offer Mozartian joys. An Italian Journey is as much a psychobiographical essay tracing the author's self-development as it is a constantly entertaining manual on how to achieve happiness. Giono is conscious of the obvious -- the aesthetics of fine monuments and lyrical landscapes -- but his greatest gift is his ability to apprehend the joys that can be squeezed from the dark side of experience: from dull skies, menacing ruins, grim facades, muddy fields, hypocritical politicians, and the tedium of the autostrada. Filled with superbly managed changes of mood and style, and with cleverly inserted anecdotes and historical narratives, An Italian Journey is a masterpiece of literary collage and an impassioned manifesto in favor of exploration of place and self; it is truly a biography of the writer's heart.
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- ID: 9780810160279
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