Jan Morris (then James) first visited Trieste as a soldier at the end of the Second World War. Since then, the city has come to represent her own life, with all its hopes, disillusionments, loves and memories. Here, her thoughts on a host of subjects - ships, cities, cats, sex, nationalism, Jewishness, civility and kindness - are inspired by the ...
Jan Morris (then James) first visited Trieste as a soldier at the end of the Second World War. Since then, the city has come to represent her own life, with all its hopes, disillusionments, loves and memories. Here, her thoughts on a host of subjects - ships, cities, cats, sex, nationalism, Jewishness, civility and kindness - are inspired by the presence of Trieste, and recorded in or between the lines of this book. Evoking the whole of its modern history, from its explosive growth to wealth and fame under the Habsburgs, through the years of Fascist rule to the miserable years of the Cold War, when rivalries among the great powers prevented its creation as a free city under United Nations auspices, Trieste and the Meaning of Nowhere is neither a history nor a travel book; like the place, it is one of a kind.
The book did not seem to " put me there" as many travel books do.
Jan 14, 2010
A very good read
I had a personal interest in this book, my father's mother having been a Morpurgo.. and Jan Morris writes so well it's always a treat to read him.
Jul 2, 2009
The City -- a mystery
Trieste -- one has to know about it to find it or want to go to this far off corner to experience it. Rich in the history of European royality and war necessity or convenience, it has changed hands through what ever army marched through. BUT it is and Italian city and you'll learn to love it. It is a very personal view by the author, not a third party intellectual fact book. Then you'll have to go there.
Publishers Weekly, 2001-08-20 With fluid, expressive prose, Welsh writer Morris (Lincoln) delivers an intriguing vision of the small seaside Italian city of Trieste. In an account that is part detailed history, part melancholy remembrance, Morris offers a vivid and loving description of a place and an eloquent reflection on growing old. In this slim volume, supposedly Morris's last, the author brilliantly weaves historic and personal memories (as the soldier James Morris, before her sex-change operation, she was stationed there during WWII), observations on love, lust, nationalism, exile and kindness, and a tender portrait of the oft-forgotten city. From glory to exile, from affluence to desertion, Morris shares the city's triumphs and hardships as one would the life story of an old and well-loved friend with affection, respect and a cheerful acceptance of little personality quirks. Tossed between Italy, Austria, Yugoslavia and finally back to Italy, Trieste, once one of the greatest port cities in the world, is now a sleepy town on the "end of its Italian umbilical." Morris writes, "So it is with me, after a lifetime of describing the planet, and I look at Trieste now as I would look into a mirror.... Much of this little book, then, has been a self-description." Populated with the well-drawn ghosts of such luminaries as James Joyce, Sir Richard Francis Burton and other "exiles" who made the city their home for a time, Morris's "little book" is as exuberant as it is bittersweet, as resigned as it is wistful. (Oct.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
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