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Another rediscovered masterpiece from the Hungarian novelist whose Embers became an international bestseller—a sensuous, suspenseful, aphoristic novel about the world’s most notorious seducer and the encounter that changes him forever. In 1756 Giacomo Casanova escapes from a Venetian prison and resurfaces in the Italian village of Bolzano. Here he receives an unwelcome visitor: the aging but still fearsome Duke of Parma, who years before had defeated Casanova in a duel over a ravishing girl named Francesca and spared his life on condition that he never see her again. Now the duke has taken Francesca as his wife—and intercepted a love letter from her to his old rival. Rather than kill Casanova on the spot, he makes him a startling offer, one that is logical, perverse, and irresistible. Turning an historical episode into a dazzling fictional exploration of the clasp of desire and death, Casanova in Bolzano is further proof that Sándor Márai is one of the most distinctive voices of the twentieth century.From the Trade Paperback edition.
Published: VintageAnchor an imprint of Random House Publishing Group on Jan 9, 2003
ISBN: 9781400043736
List price: $9.99
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Casanova in Bolzano by Sandor Marai Marai, is a Hungarian novelist, who has been compared to Gabriel García Márquez, I disagee, Márquez is the better writer. This novel was translated from the Hungarian by George Szirtes. The main character Giacomo Casanova having just escaped a Venetian jail (Leads Prison) with defrocked priest Balbi, finds himself in a Italian village - Bolzano - where years earlier he had fought a duel with the Duke of Parma over the beautiful 15 year old girl, Francesca. In a inn in the village Giacomo provides us with interior monologue that while often beautiful and insightful continues for page after page becoming very tedious and repetitive. He also periodically dispenses advice to the villagers in his 'surgery.'The Duke of Parma brings Giacomo, Francesca's letter containing the single sentence "I must see you." And Marai then gives us page after page of Francesca's dialogue that once again has some beautiful lines and true psychological insight, but also becomes tedious and repetitive. Yes, the novel contains much beautiful prose, but I found it very tedious and repetitive.read more
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Casanova in Bolzano is not, I think, as good as Embers, but it is a stimulating and thought-provoking read. The famous Casanova has escaped from a Venetian prison, in the company of defrocked, portly, skirt-chasing priest. The two of them wash up in Bolzano and very soon, the arrival of the famous Casanova is the only talk around the small Italian village. The first third of the book is a little slow, but it picks up when Casanova is visited by the Duke of Parma with whom he fought, and lost, a duel five years earlier over a beautiful 15 year old girl. The Duke subsequently married the girl, Francesca, but knows that she remains in love with Casanova and has intercepted a love letter to that effect. The Duke puts a strange proposition to Casanova: spend the night with Francesca, love her, but leave her in the morning with no thought that there can be any future for them; in exchange, the Duke offers more money and safe-passage guarantees than Casanova has ever dreamed about. The love letter is very simple: it says, "I must see you", but the Duke's parsing of its meaning is fascinating. Casanova agrees, but before he can go to the masquerade ball at the Duke's, dressed as a woman, he is visited in his rooms by Francesca, dressed as a man. Francesca vows undying, uncritical, unquestioning, unconditional love and commitment to Casanova, and the questioning, emotional interplay between the two makes up the rest of the book.Marai is a terrific writer who explores through lengthy, but never boring, monologues and exchanges the deepest emotions of commitment, love, and the tangled relationships that people can find themselves in. Always well worth reading.read more
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
A study of desire, seperating what makes people attractive apart from their physical beauty.read more
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
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Reviews

Casanova in Bolzano by Sandor Marai Marai, is a Hungarian novelist, who has been compared to Gabriel García Márquez, I disagee, Márquez is the better writer. This novel was translated from the Hungarian by George Szirtes. The main character Giacomo Casanova having just escaped a Venetian jail (Leads Prison) with defrocked priest Balbi, finds himself in a Italian village - Bolzano - where years earlier he had fought a duel with the Duke of Parma over the beautiful 15 year old girl, Francesca. In a inn in the village Giacomo provides us with interior monologue that while often beautiful and insightful continues for page after page becoming very tedious and repetitive. He also periodically dispenses advice to the villagers in his 'surgery.'The Duke of Parma brings Giacomo, Francesca's letter containing the single sentence "I must see you." And Marai then gives us page after page of Francesca's dialogue that once again has some beautiful lines and true psychological insight, but also becomes tedious and repetitive. Yes, the novel contains much beautiful prose, but I found it very tedious and repetitive.
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
Casanova in Bolzano is not, I think, as good as Embers, but it is a stimulating and thought-provoking read. The famous Casanova has escaped from a Venetian prison, in the company of defrocked, portly, skirt-chasing priest. The two of them wash up in Bolzano and very soon, the arrival of the famous Casanova is the only talk around the small Italian village. The first third of the book is a little slow, but it picks up when Casanova is visited by the Duke of Parma with whom he fought, and lost, a duel five years earlier over a beautiful 15 year old girl. The Duke subsequently married the girl, Francesca, but knows that she remains in love with Casanova and has intercepted a love letter to that effect. The Duke puts a strange proposition to Casanova: spend the night with Francesca, love her, but leave her in the morning with no thought that there can be any future for them; in exchange, the Duke offers more money and safe-passage guarantees than Casanova has ever dreamed about. The love letter is very simple: it says, "I must see you", but the Duke's parsing of its meaning is fascinating. Casanova agrees, but before he can go to the masquerade ball at the Duke's, dressed as a woman, he is visited in his rooms by Francesca, dressed as a man. Francesca vows undying, uncritical, unquestioning, unconditional love and commitment to Casanova, and the questioning, emotional interplay between the two makes up the rest of the book.Marai is a terrific writer who explores through lengthy, but never boring, monologues and exchanges the deepest emotions of commitment, love, and the tangled relationships that people can find themselves in. Always well worth reading.
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
A study of desire, seperating what makes people attractive apart from their physical beauty.
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
Marai has a way of writing for a long time about the smallest of events. He does it well, though, and the result in hypnotic. The book has a number of interesting twists and subverts the usual male/female dynamic in a satisfactory way.
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I am usually very wary of historical fiction, I've only come across a few good ones, but this one, the very first I've read of this author, is going into my top favorites. I am currently reading the Casanova Memoirs, and I feel the author has portrayed him beautifully. In Marai's work, Casanova is a character to be pitied because he believes he cannot have true love nor does he think it exists. At the same time he is to be admired because of his confidence and philosophy on life. Our main lady, Francesca, is also a great character. She's not the feminist-type, the "I don't need a man!" sort, as she is still a lady of the 18th century. However, she is neither submissive nor passive. Marai's writing is like art, words are chosen very carefully, and a character's thoughts can go on and on with no periods. Yet Marai amazingly manages to make this style appealing instead of annoying. This is also one of the few Casanova books, biographical or fiction, that I feel does justice to history's favorite lover. I'd recommend it to anyone.
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Translated from Hungarian. Based on the real life adventures of Casanova. Makes it clear that the Casanova was trapped by his inability to actually fall in love--the central irony of his life. Enjoyable read.
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