John Julius Norwich

Did This Man Really Win the Nobel Prize?

Watermark

By Joseph Brodsky

Hamish Hamilton 104pp £9.99 order from our bookshop

There are hundreds of ways of writing about Venice. One can be lyrical and high-flown like Ruskin; fastidious and dismissive like Gibbon; melancholy and nostalgic like Proust; ghoulish and disapproving like Dickens; sensitive and almost unbearably precise like Henry James. One can write histories or guidebooks, disquisitions on the painting or the architecture, poems, descriptive essays or novels. Watermark, however, is none of these things. It is hard to say what it is; hard, even, to be sure whether it is really about Venice at all.

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