Logo New Dutch Writing


Venice: The Lion, the City and the Water

Venice: The Lion, the City and the Water

Venice: The Lion, the City and the Water by Cees Nooteboom, translation: Laura Watkinson
(Yale University Press, 2020)

Cees Nooteboom’s love for Venice, this “absurd combination of power, money, genius and great art,” has been ongoing for more than fifty years. The first visit was in 1964, in the company of a young woman. Then, in 1982, he arrived on the Orient Express. Only on his tenth visit did he take a gondola ride. He has dived deep into the labyrinth and discovered his own lagoon city between the alleys, locked gates, and countless canals. He is surrounded by the dead, and pays homage to the painters and writers who lived and worked there, to the palaces, bridges, painting, and sculpture that give the city a kind of immortality. With his ability to penetrate to the core of his destinations, Nooteboom sheds new light on the city, its history, and its treasures, producing in book form a radiant tribute to Venice.

Nooteboom has achieved the impossible: to say something new about the ageless city about which everything has been said. - Alberto Manguel
His writing is lyrical and densely textured. He is a poet of time and memory. - Colin Thubron