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Night Letters/Dessaix, Rober/Paper/0330359916/S052-C2
Every night for twenty nights in a hotel room in Venice, and Australian man recently diagnosed with an incurable disease writes a letter home to a friend. In these twenty letters he describes not only the kaleidoscopic journey he has just made from Switzerland across northern Italy to Venice, but reflects on questions of mortality, seduction and the search for paradise in deeply life-enhancing ways. Interweaving incidents from an actual journey with stories of enchantment and passion set in a variety of lands and centuries, Robert Dessaix leaps from twelfth-century India to Lygon Street, Melbourne, from the tale of a bogus Russian baroness to a diatribe against St Anthony of Padua, from a bizarre interpretation of Casanova's exploits to a meditation on Dante's idea of heaven. Against a rich background of earlier journeys in literature, Robert Dessaix weaves a compelling and ultimately exhilarating tale of a life lived with a heightened sense of mortality.