No.85 Donna Leon

The exact quote from the movie is: “We’ll have two cups of coffee  and a glass of water.” The movie series is Commissario Brunetti  Episode 15 “Through a Glass Darkly”   The author that created this world of police dramas and murder in the little community of Venice, Italy is Donna Leon.

I think Donna Leon is one of my ultimate favorite  authors from Italy.  I went to Italy on an art scholarship. We went to school in Florence and in our spare time we ventured out to explore. My two travel mates were Peter and Douglas. We went to Venice on one trip in the Spring right around the time for Easter. The weekend we were there was a full moon…something we wouldn’t of thought was important but it was. The boats couldn’t get under the bridges because of the high waters…So it left us stranded in different parts of the city. That night I ended up sleeping in the train station…Very hard, plastic seats…we also had burglars at 3:00 Am and Police action afterwards. A night of thrills and danger. I can’t say I thought Venice was very romantic as it was always portrayed in the U.S. Maybe if I had gotten to ride a gondola with my imaginary heart throb Lucca – I would told a different story. When I returned to Minnesota-it was like  night and day.  I could of sworn I left my heart in Italy. It helped when my friends found Donna Leon for me. She saved me from perpetually mourning (or should I say… moaning…) for Italy.

Donna Leon has lived in Venice most of her adult life. She actually lived in Iran teaching English for awhile till the uprising -when the Shah of Iran was unseated and it became a political hotbed-so she was promptly shipped out to safety. Later in her travels Donna Leon fell in love with Venice and decided to live there. Thank Goodness for me. Her books with Commissarion Brunetti are an international best seller. Written in 33 languages. The movies are both in Italian and German. BBC is in the works to start filming in the future as well. I listened to a lot of interviews -very interesting . She’s an American that understands Italians because she’s lived there a long time.  Her first book started as a joke with a friend who was upset about a conductor that night at the La Fenice Opera House. In their conversation a way to kill him came up and she thought why not? Sometimes people talk about how many people get killed off in Venice through her novels – which always makes me laugh for I have thought this very same thing for Midsomer Murders in England. ( 5 or 6 persons die in each episode.) Do you see what I mean….When asked about this Donna Leon said “Venetians are not a violent people…it only happens in my books.” Phew! Like with Ying and Yang the other thing that thrills her is Baroque Music-thoughout her whole life. If she is faced with the dilemna of choosing to write or go to a performance…she said the latter would win. “Books can wait …Performances cannot. In the movies all the actors are excellent -you will fall in love with all of them. Well done. Excellent book for the beach…trains…waiting in line….

 

 

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