Evening Painting is a stunning homage to Venice.
The work is really unique and original for several reasons. The first one is the subtitle, which is in Italian, namely: L’Amore di Vissini per Fionanora.
Vissini and Fionanora are the names of the main characters of the book written by Richard James.
Evening Painting is not a non – fiction or a travel book about the wonders of Venice, but a compelling and unconventional novel set in the most romantic place of Italy.
I remained pleasantly surprised by this fiction book and I am still incapable to classify it. It is a love-story? Maybe it is, but I think it is much more than it.
Evening Painting is a mesmerizing tale about the love of a Venetian writer, called Vissini, for his city and for an American artist called Fionanora. The latter is a beautiful painter, arrived in Venice along with a group of inattentive and uncaring artists. They are all superficially eager to visit this marvelous destination.
Vissini, instead, is a very sensitive writer, like the most of writers. He is also very poor, like the most of writers. But it is his personal perspective about Venice, Italy and the world to be so rich and abundant.
During his dialogues with Fionanora, this character unveils the most profound thoughts a human being can elaborate about a place. Vissini is not a shallow person; he does not look at the life on the surface.
He goes beyond it. That is why he does not love the usual places tourists visit in Venice; he loves to discover more secluded zones, with stunning sights and unknown beauties.
Vissini involves Fionanora in his personal lifestyle, he escapes noise and crowd, but Fionanora? She is a lively girl, an artist who Vissini calls Fiona. She wants to live at the most of her possibilities.
Through these opposite characters, the author depicted the clash between materialism and spirituality, where people watch without seeing and visit without looking.
“Venice is for the world, not for a pointless mass tourism”. “Venice is for those who are able to understand and admire it from inside”.
These words seem to be the inner scream of Vissini.
The dialogues and poetical words you’ll find in the book fit perfectly Venice, a city that these recent years suffered many vicissitudes, up to the awful pandemic.
Evening Painting comes from the personal travel experience of the author. He visited Italy and Venice and felt in love with them.
The passion for Venice is deep, sharp and strong. During this reading I have been taken to the most beautiful places of Venice, from the Rialto Bridge to the fabulous churches containing the artworks by Titian and Tintoretto.
I can absolutely say that the author knows Venice better than any Italian and better than Venetians. The Lagoon is described with all of ancient traditions and colours, where beauty is always intertwined with the soul of those who are able to look at it.
Evening Painting is like a picture painted with the words, no other book ever gave me so strong visual emotions.
I imagined the places described by the author; I even heard the sound of the lagoon and the voices of people at the local market and the noise of the water taxis that transport the friends of Fiona.
The girl is torn between the love of Vissini and the desire to go to visit Paris. She will remain with him?
This poignant side of the novel will be discovered by reading the book up to the last page.
In conclusion, a novel about Venice is a brilliant idea to merge travel and fiction.
But I don’t want to minimize the literary value of this fiction book. As said, it is a great act of love for Venice and Italy, but it is also a great masterpiece beautifully written by a great writer.