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Petra Reski, Copyright: Paul Schirnhofer, Focus
Petra Reski
born: 1958

1994 .|. Rita Atria. Eine Frau gegen die Mafia
1995 .|. Eine Prinzessin zahlt nie selbst. 32 Schmähreden an den Mann
1998 .|. Kein Tiger weit und breit. 32 neue Schmähreden an den Mann
1999 .|. Palazzo Dario .|. Bookworm's Comment
2000 .|. Ein Land so weit
2003 .|. Meine Mutter und ich
2007 .|. Der Italiener an meiner Seite
2009 .|. Mafia: Von Paten, Pizzerien und falschen Priestern
2010 .|. Von Kamen nach Corleone: Die Mafia in Deutschland
(Books are only available in German)

Palazzo Dario (only available in German)
You can see pictures of the real Palazzo Dario on my Venice website.

"Palazzo Dario" (List Verlag, Germany, 1999, read: July 99, only available in German)
"Wanda Viarelli has thousands of pictures of love, decay and gondolas in her head as she moves from her beloved Naples to conquer Venice. She was selected among hundreds of contestants to become curator at the Museo Orientale and is able to live with her uncle in Palazzo Dario right at the Canale Grande. But not only the uncle needs getting used to. Also the other inhabitants of the palazzo, the chain-smoking Maria and Michel, require a lot from Wanda.
But what really makes her nervous are the numerous stories about the curse which seems to lay on Palazzo Dario. And in fact quite a few strange things are happening here at the Canale Grande against which neither conjurations, sent from her superstitious father in Naples to the far away Venice, nor her love to Primo, the beautiful gondoliere, can do something about ..." (Translation from the German cover text)

In the cover text it also says that this is a roman à clef about Venice and it's inhabitants, which is "a novel in which real people and events are described in a way that they can be recognized" (German Brockhaus). Palazzo Dario is real and it's described in the travel guide 'Dumont Visuelle' as: "The now rather askew palace was built in 1487 as one of the first renaissance buildings in Venice. His facade is asymmetrical, ..., and exessively adorned with marble and porphyr." (p 212).
It's no wonder that this 'asymmetrical' palace attracts strange inhabitants and visitors. For example Wanda's uncle Radomir Radziwill, a fanatical carnival fan with a noble background and a liking of anectotes which nobody wants to hear. Or Maria, the maid, who rather does crossword puzzles than clean the palace but cooks a marvelous fish soup.
The story alternates between the experiences of Wanda and the tragic stories of earlier inhabitants of the palace who, in one way or another, fell victim to the curse. And it's only a matter of time before the curse raises its ugly head again. Even a magician and fumigating candles can do nothing to help.
Everyone who's been to Venice before will recognize a lot of things ... the peculiar ways of the Venetians and the specialties of the city are described at lengh and in a very funny way. The story is also a little bit dark and morbid. And the titles of the single chapters just make curious, e.g. "Wanda's first working day at the Museo Orientale. She gets to know a capman and learns what 50 Bavarians mean in Venice". The ending comes a little bit unexpected but once it's there one has learned enough about Venice to get back there for sure and to look at it live.
[Dorothée Büttgen, July 99]

More great reviews at Bookworm's Lair:

Alessandro Baricco, Novecento       Fannie Flagg, Welcome to the World, Baby Girl       Salley Vickers, Miss Garnet's Angel

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