The Girl From Venice, Martin Cruz Smith 2016
The girl from Venice is Giulia Silber, the 18 year old daughter of wealthy Venetian Jews who are murdered by the SS in the closing days of WWII when their hiding place on an island in the Venetian lagoon is disclosed by an Italian collaborator. Giulia escapes and ends up apparently drowned in the fishing net of Cenzo Vianello, a fisherman from Pellistrina, a small village on Lido. Cenzo has his own complicated WWII history with a younger brother killed in the strafing of their fishing boat and an older brother who is a famous movie actor and a collaborator in Mussolini’s inside circle. The story winds back and forth from Venice to Salo, the capitol of the Italian state left in German control after the Americans move up the boot and a darn good story it is—-romance, intrigue, suspense, murder, the chaos of war. Cruz Smith does a fine job with this story, made even more fun as we prepare to head to Venice next week. The map on the frontispiece is worth the read just to see how Venice sits out there in the bay, protected from the open sea by Lido but undoubtedly doomed to sink into the waters as global warming leads to an inevitable rise in sea level—-1500 years of history likely to disappear due to man’s inability to grasp the science and the need to change our ways.