From the author of the acclaimed Pulitzer Prize-winning #1 New York Times bestseller All the Light We Cannot See and Cloud Cuckoo Land, a "dazzling" (Azar Nafisi, author of Reading Lolita in Tehran) memoir about art and adventures in Rome.
Anthony Doerr has received many awards—from the New York Public Library, the National Endowment for the Arts, and the American Library Association. Then came the Rome Prize, one of the most prestigious awards from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, and with it a stipend and a writing studio in Rome for a year. Doerr learned of the award the day he and his wife returned from the hospital with newborn twins.
Exquisitely observed, Four Seasons in Rome describes Doerr's varied adventures in one of the most enchanting cities in the world. He reads Pliny, Dante, and Keats—the chroniclers of Rome who came before him—and visits the piazzas, temples, and ancient cisterns they describe. He attends the vigil of a dying Pope John Paul II and takes his twins to the Pantheon in December to wait for snow to fall through the oculus. He and his family are embraced by the butchers, grocers, and bakers of the neighborhood, whose clamor of stories and idiosyncratic child-rearing advice is as compelling as the city itself.
This intimate and revelatory book is a celebration of Rome, a wondrous look at new parenthood, and a fascinating story of a writer's craft—the process by which he transforms what he sees and experiences into sentences.
Doerr is not an accomplished narrator: he has a narrow vocal range, drops his voice at the ends of sentences, and articulates words so carefully as to undermine the conversational flow of his fine writing. But all that said, the audio edition of this memoir is saved by his genuine and infectious sense of curiosity, awe, and wonder that is as evident in his voice as in his words. On the day his twins are born, Doerr is offered a grant to spend a year at the American University in Rome working on what will become his Pulitzer Prize winning novel All the Light We Cannot See (2014). In Rome, while he and his wife are slugging through and delighting in their sons first year of life, he falls in love with Roman history, historians, art, ancient sites, mountains, trees, and the neighbors and shopkeepers who befriend his family. A Scribner paperback.
This book captures the mystery and eternity of Rome in the most personal ways. I am reading in preparation of a return trip to Rome. Each page instills longing to see what Doerr sees and go where he goes. The everyday lives of this simple family provide a wonderous journey through Rome's neighborhoods and centuries. I am captivated and will read again and again.
Four Seasons in Rome
If you have just finished All the Light We Cannot See, and want to read more by Anthony Doerr; if you have spent time in Rome; if you have traveled with small children, this is an very amusing book, and a great read.