Tuesday, September 27, 2005

The City of Falling Angels - John Berendt

The City of Falling Angels is a collection of beautifully written vignettes searching for a story – a book in search of a hook. Surprisingly little happened in Venice in seven years, but they made a fuss of it anyway. And though Venice is the setting, the story is as New York as Vanity Fair and pop tarts: about Americans fundraising for Save Venice and its spin offs, and Venetian aristocrats not appearing grateful enough. I want to visit Venice more than ever, but wonder if it is better to know what happens behind the closed doors, or just to stare at the facades and wonder.

The City of Falling Angels

John Berendt

Sceptre, ₤20.00 (Royal Hardback)

Monday, September 12, 2005

Transmission - Hari Kunziru

An Indian computer hacker unwittingly destroys, and ultimately improves the lives of himself, a Bollywood film starlet, and a strange English couple, by unleashing a virus in order to make himself look more important at work.

The technical descriptions of the virus’s are almost poetic – Kunziru writes for Wired – and and the insights into Indian sweatshop code farms, and Silicon Valley’s exploitation of them, are eye-opening. Unfortunately, the end of the book seems implausible, and contrived, as if Kunziru was told to hurry up and finish when he was only halfway through.

Hari Kunziru