cover image Venice Is a Fish: A Sensual Guide

Venice Is a Fish: A Sensual Guide

Tiziano Scarpa, , trans. from the Italian by Shaun Whiteside. . Gotham, $17.50 (153pp) ISBN 978-1-592-40407-0

Prolific Venetian writer Scarpa pledges not “to name a single hotel, restaurant, bar or shop” in this delicate yet supple book, a chain of linked and sensuously translated essays about the one of the world’s most unusual and historical cities. He focuses each chapter of his tour through different parts of the body. He begins with the feet before moving up to the legs and heart. The translation renders even the most basic descriptions wonderfully tactile. Only eventually does Scarpa move on to the more obvious sights, sounds, tastes and smells. The main text is just over a hundred pages, but a 40-page coda takes it into the lit-crit realm by way of a “micro-anthology of Venetian texts” that includes samplings from the author’s other works. Scarpa is better known in Italy than America, but that could change with this brief book, which captures Venice as only words and language on the tongue of a native can. (Aug.)