There are many reasons why we enjoy traveling. The desire to see dreamlike places, the thrill of meeting new cultures with their art, food, drinks and folklore are of course the most common ones, but sometimes for somebody traveling could also be a way to heal wounds, thus giving the scars the time they need to be barely seen. A change of scenario could reasonably be regarded as the most natural way to turn your back to a distressing past, put all the pieces together and give yourself a new chance.
This is what the two protagonists of Kristin Anderson’s novel “The Things We Said in Venice” have in mind. Sarah Turner, a high school counselor in her late thirties has recently faced a dolorous divorce. She decides to leave her job and home in Bend, Oregon to go on a six-week holiday to Europe. It is a solo adventure. During this time Sarah needs to learn to take charge of her life, to be independent, even because once in Amsterdam, her final destination, she has made plans that will radically change her future. Alone.
For Fokke van der Velt travelling has always been a significant part of his life since he is a renowned travel writer. He is on a trip with a group of friends to the Dolomites, trying to blanking out the painful memories of a betrayal. He needs the company of his mates, who with their presence and laughter try to ease his mind from the recurrent ghost of his sorrow. Sarah and Fokke have one thing in common for sure: they are not looking for new partners.
A benign fate, however, will play its cards to make the two meet. An exchange of backpacks, a snowfall, a strike and above all Sarah’s diary, which is ungentlemanly read by Fokke, will allow him to have knowledge of the most intimate and delicate aspects of her life on one side, but it will light his interest for that stranger on the other. Of course any entanglement between two people with such a painful past never runs smoothly. Having become emotionally defenseless, they are ready to set barriers whenever they smell the danger of being wounded again.
The romantic background of Venice with its alleys and canals will be the perfect set where the two develop their acquaintance, but only once in Amsterdam, Sarah’s final destination, she will have to ponder whether new plans may replace old plans. At the end of a journey we are never what we used to be at the beginning, this is the wonder of traveling, so when you get to the harbor you know that other goals must be set if you want to move on. Your choice,whether it is right or wrong, will depend on what you have learnt on that journey.
I would like to thank Kristin Anderson, author or “The Things We Said in Venice” and fellow blogger for having given me the opportunity of reading her novel. It has been an honor. I did all my best not to spoil the end! 😉
Sounds like a lovely reading!
It is and beautifully written.
Reblogged this on Author Kristin Anderson and commented:
It’s such a blessing when someone reads your novel and understands the characters and their struggles so well. This post by Stefania Gioffrè, an English teacher in Rome, really struck home. I am so thankful for her post!
Thank you, Kristin. It was a pleasure..
Sounds very interesting indeed! I could really use a long travel in a foreign land, at the moment (who wouldn’t?!). Nonetheless, I believe that good books and good journeys are truly alike and, on some special cases, they might be the same thing, in a way.
P.S: I recently stumbled upon the “Pride and Prejudice” series with Colin Firth, and could not resist watching it again. Wow, that brought back memories! :’)
Uhhmmmm,🤔 Missing school, big boy? 🙃
Nah, not at all! Just had the opportunity to watch it over again, so I though “why not?” Of course I was not disappointed by the choice 😉 I hope you are still submitting it to your students, because that is pure gold and I still laugh about it with some old classmates thinking about Mrs Bennet!
This year we have watched another gem : Gaskell’s “North and South”
I loved that novel and the film.!
Firth is the perfect Darcy and that was a great BBC production. The movie with Keira Knightley was ok, but it didn’t make me dream as the series.
He is, indeed!
A wonderful endorsement to the book. Venice is a special place – the type of place that brings people together.
Thank you Frank. Venice could be a fantastic place to celebrate your 42th anniversary, couldn’t it? I’m sure your wife will thank me this time.😬
Great idea! 🙂
Reblogged this on From 1 Blogger 2 Another.
Looks good. Thank you so much for all your kindness in “liking” my work, that means such a lot to me, many thanks. Hope all is well with you and your Family.
Thanks a lot Anna. It is always a real pleasure for me reading your blog and stories. Cheers.