Thursday, October 01, 2009

The Ancient Shore - post I

One of the joys of twitter has been the chance to hear what other people like reading and then occasionally be lucky enough to be sent a book that has inspired someone.

That happened with The Ancient Shore a memoir and travel journal written by two voices, both foreigners to Naples, who had adopted the city and dived deep into its history and tried to describe the magic that had enchanted them.

The first section is by Shirley Hazzard who weaves in her own story moving to the Italian City in the 1950s with the history of the famous city. The city had acted as a beacon for artists of the past with the likes of Oscar Wilde and Henry James enjoying spells in the city. But to the modern reader the city is most linked with corruption, crime and a sense of faded glory.

Hazzard manages to take you through the past and the present but still instill a sense of wonder at the city making the wise remark that you have to live somewhere to really get under the skin and travel guides and pictures books can only take you so far.

That might be the case for the usual guide book but this slim volume manages to convey a feeling that is inspirational.

More tomorrow...

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