Four Seasons in Rome
Four Seasons in Rome
On Twins, Insomnia, and the Biggest Funeral in the History of the World
Scribner Book Company, Paperback, 9781416573166, 210pp.
Publication Date: June 10, 2008
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.
"Anthony Doerr is dazzling in this book, in the way he celebrates the joys as well as the pain of being a parent and in love, being a writer and being in Rome, reminding us that certain experiences never grow stale when they are expressed through the fresh eyes of a real writer."
-- Azar Nafisi, author of Reading Lolita in Tehran
"Doerr's journal is a love letter written with the ear of a musician, the sensibility of a Buddha, the heart of an inamorato. Rome is the chosen beloved, but Doerr's true subject is writing."
-- Sandra Cisneros, author of Caramelo
"I loved this book which, in turn, made me laugh and weep at the relentless twins, Owen and Henry, who never sleep, the descriptions of Rome, the clouds, the light -- especially the light -- the people Doerr meets on the street, again the light, Pliny, Jonah's feet dangling from the Sistine Chapel ceiling, Shauna's steadfastness, Doerr's generous and intelligent spirit, his discerning eye and his perfect prose. Complimenti!"
-- Lily Tuck, author of Interviewing Matisse
"Anthony Doerr found himself in the perfect Eternal City with the eternal Paternal Problem: how to care for two beautiful newborn twins while still doing his work as a writer and student and observer. The result is a funny, precise, touching account of cultural barricades crossed and fatherly exhaustions overcome; a story of the universalities of parenting and the specificities of Roman life that will lift the heart of every parent and delight the mind of every lover of Italy."
-- Adam Gopnik, author of Through the Children's Gate and From Paris to the Moon