Fairfield University presents author John Berendt for lecture

Fairfield University presents author John Berendt for lecture

John Berendt, the best-selling author of Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil , will discuss his recent book, The City of Falling Angels , on Thursday, Oct. 12, at 7 p.m. at Fairfield University's John A. Barone Campus Center Oak Room. A book signing featuring the newly released paperback edition will follow his lecture, which is presented by University College at Fairfield University in collaboration with Pequot Library.

In The City of Falling Angels , Berendt once more employs his penetrating eye and this time he explores Venice with its attendant mystery, romance, nostalgia, grandeur, and decay. For all who have not grown up wandering into its depths, Venice is a confounding city; a city of masks, a city of riddles where the narrow meandering passageways form a giant maze.

The City of Falling Angels opens on the evening of Jan. 29, 1996, when a dramatic fire destroys the historic Fenice opera house. The loss of the Fenice, where five of Verdi's operas premiered, is a catastrophe for Venetians. Arriving three days after the fire, in a Venice shrouded in lingering smoke, Berendt becomes a kind of detective - inquiring into the nature of life in this remarkable museum-city - while gradually revealing the truth about the fire.

In the course of his investigations, Berendt introduces us to a rich cast of characters: a prominent Venetian poet whose shocking "suicide" prompts his skeptical friends to pursue a murder suspect on their own; the first family of American expatriates that loses possession of the family palace after four generations of ownership; the Rat Man of Treviso; and numerous others - stool pigeons, scapegoats, hustlers, sleepwalkers, believers in Martians, the Plant Man, and Henry James.

Berendt tells a tale full of atmosphere and surprise as the stories build, one after the other, ultimately coming together to reveal a world as finely drawn as a still-life painting. The fire and its aftermath serve as a leitmotif that runs throughout, adding the elements of chaos, corruption, and crime and contributing to the ever-mounting suspense of this fascinating book.

John Berendt's first book, Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil , became an international bestseller when it was published 12 years ago. It achieved a record-breaking four-year run on the New York Times bestseller list, was a finalist for the 1995 Pulitzer Prize in general nonfiction, and was made into a film. Berendt is a journalist and former editor of New York magazine. He lives in New York.

The cost to attend the lecture and book signing is $10 and Fairfield University students and faculty are free. Please phone (203) 254-4307 to reserve a seat. This event is part of the Authors' Forum, an outgrowth of the Open Visions series.

University College at Fairfield University is the gateway for individuals seeking undergraduate and graduate degrees as well as professional certificate programs, study abroad and personal enrichment opportunities. With an emphasis on quality, convenience and flexibility, University College offers a wide variety of evening, day,

online and weekend programs taught by a distinguished faculty. University College offers an enriching personal and powerful educational experience that is backed by the resources and reputation of a great Jesuit university. For program information, e-mail gradadmis@fairfield.edu or visit www.fairfield.edu or call (203) 254-4184.

Posted On: 09-22-2006 10:09 AM

Volume: 39 Number: 35