Reviews

E I Morti non sanno

DIARIO DELLA SETTIMANA (9 dicembre 2005)

Gaia Servadio, scrittrice dal talento multiforme, alza da sempre il tasso di bellezza e anche di eleganza nella cultura (non sol tanto ) italiana. Cittadina del mondo, residente a Londra, supera con facilitll i confini, a partire da quelli della scrittura, con saggi, biografie, lavori per cinema e tv, e romanzi . In questa libro si viaggia molto partendo da Gerusalemme . A parlare in prima persona e Cecilia, affascinante regista che interrompe un complicato lavoro sull’Otello per correre al funerale di Aaron, amico carissimo, pili importante di un marito, pili esclusivo di un am~~te. La morte, misteriosa, la porta a farsi qualche domanda e a indagare, non senza penZla, tra Israelem Londra e Zurigo, in una spirale di colpi di scena dove si trova malgre elle coinvolta. Ci sono i buoni,k ci sono i cattivi, rna tendono molto a confondersi in una tram a dove spionaggio industriale, speculazione (sulla salute di milioni di persone) delle industrie farnaceutiche e uomini e donne senza scrupoli si affrontano. Per farIa breve, Aaron, il morto, aveva scoperto un antidoto a11′Aids e avrebbe voluto distribuirIo a tutti i bisognosi, rna chi vorrebbe produrIo non ci sta. Immaginate il giro di miliardi in dollari e la (neanche troppo) fragile Cecila in mezzo. Non ci si annoia, mentre Gaia Servadio affronta con impagabile snobismo luoghi comuni di integralismo religioso e vita quotidiana spiegando come non ci si debba fidare di un poliziotto di Scotland Yard che preferisce il caffe aI te. (Pietro Cheli)

Rossini

The Sunday Telegraph – Michael Kennedy

This excellent and very readable biography of Gioachino Rossini does not pretend to tell us anything new about his music. For that we can go elsewhere. But Gaia Servadio has written a lively, well-researched account of his strange life which she sets against the background of a Europe in turmoil … A deeper reason for his depression about which the author is illuminating is that Rossini increasingly felt out of tune with the age in which he lived. He belonged to the immediate post-Mozart era. Beethoven’s soul-stirring Romanticism was not for him, nor was Verdi’s crusading nationalism….She vividly describes Rossini’s meeting with Beethoven in Vienna in 1822 … Years later he met Wagner and got on surprisingly well with him in spite of their widely divergent approach to opera…..Gaia Servadio has served this endearing composer well.

The Economist

Ms Servadio divides Rossini’s life into five acts, as if it were a drama, and she has had access to a large number of hitherto unknown letters from Rossini to his parents and his first wife, the sopranoIsabella Colbran, for whom he composed Armida, La Donna del lago and Semiramide¹.These letters give an intimate feel to the narrative, but the most original structure of the book comes from Ms Servadio¹s way of showing how Rossini is the link between the age of Beerhoven and that of Wagner….Gaia Servadio tells Rossini’s story well.

Richard Osborne in Gramophone

It is an agreeble read distinguished by the fact that the author writes with an inborn feel for Italian history and Italian culture….The Balzac material is of particular interest.

The Tablet

This book is a very readable short life of a simply glorious composer and it has sent me back to Rossini with renewed enthusiasm.

Women of the Renaissance

The Independent

Servadio’s thesis is that the Renaissance  which she dates from the invention of the press in the 1450s, to the mid 16th century point when Conter-Reformation and Inquisition made it dangerous to hold enlightened views, was largely influenced by women.

The Spectator, Ian Thomson

As Servadio reminds us in this marvelous study of Renaissance women and their men, Cardinal Bembo had featured in Castiglione’s The Book of the Courtier, that great Renaissance treatise on how to get on in life….The renaissance was a time when people wanted to enjoy themselves, and it helped to create the independent, sexually confident ‘modern woman’ of today, argues Servadio..While §R women became more masculine, Servadio points out, Renaissance men became more feminine…Renaissance Women remains a wonderfully readable account of a glorious age, Gaia Servadio is to be congratulated on her eye for memorable historical detail and flare for storytelling.

Motya: Unearthing a Lost Civilisation

The New York Review of Books

…Servadio has an elegiaic description of them decaying in a gloomy villa in Palermo, reminiscent of the Prince’s spinsters daughters in the last chapter of The Leopard. Her book is a fascinating and quietly melancholy case study in social history.

The Sunday Telegraph

Motya is a tiny island just off the south-west coast of Sicily. The great archaeologist Heinrich Schliemann went there in 1875 to dig and pronounced it of no interest . It was left to Joseph Whitaker, the island¹s Victorian milord, to discover that there had been a great city beneath its sandy soil …. Gaia Servadio writes with lyrical reverence. Her emotional involvement in this scrap of land…is highly infectious.

The Birmingham Post

…Punic history is still largely a blank page. Perhaps this wonderfully evocative book will stir a few rich universities into transferring their attention from Egypt and South America…

The Tablet

For Servadio, the study of the Phoenicians and the Punics has been blighted by anti-Semitism and, consequently, a lack of material … but Servadio is in love with her subject, and this passion informs the writing

Tanto Gentile a Tanto Onesta (Melinda)

Mary McCarthy

Melinda Publishing, who seduces her father, Abraham Publishing, at the age of thirteen is a Lorelei Lee of the Space Age, a good-bad little girl and a glutton, it turns out, for punishment. The dark closet she is finally shut up in, to revolve eternally like a cross little Pleiad, proves to be an orbiting satellite. The book, described as a Pop novel, is a sort of TV spectacular, in episodes, of the confessions of a female id, escaped from the super-ego. It is a blow-up of its heroine- candid, impatient, greedy and stealthily observant of the naked, unsuspecting world.

The Real Traviata

Anne De Courcy, Daily Mail

Now, for the first time, the story of her life and enduring love has emerged. La Strepponi’s compatriot, the author Gaia Servadio, has disentangled her tale from dusty archives, letters and manuscripts. It is old in Servadio’s new book.

Sue Gaisfor, The Independent

Servadio’s researches are impressive, particularly when she writes of the atmosphere in pre-unification Italy, when there were half a dozen customs-posts between Naples and Milan, when the Austrians were in power and when opera was held in such high esteem that it was the essence of popular culture.

Un’Infanzia Diversa (A Different Childhood)

Panorama

La guerra, le persecuzioni razziali in Italia e una bambina (la stessa Servadio) che osserva quel mondo con particolare sgomento (The war, racial persecution in Italy and a child (Servadio herself) who observes that world with amazed amazement)

La Storia di R (The Story of R)

E. Jane Dickson, The Daily Telegraph

The relationship between erotica and feminism has traditionally been an uneasy one.The Italian writer Gaia Servadio’s ‘The Story of R’ is a pastiche of Pauline Reage’s 1954 S&M cult classic,’The Story of O’. In Servadio’s version it is the turn of men to be reduced to ‘men-objects’ by an international ring of high-flying dominatrices.

Federico Zeri, La Stampa

Grazie all’abilitá della scrittrice (e al suo pizzico d’umorismo), l’effetto finale é molto simile a quello dei piú recenti libri di Stephen King…C’é peró un altro aspetto da tener presente nel giudicare il libro di Gaia Servadio; ed é lo slittamento che il romanzo erotico ha subito in questa seconda metá del secolo XX. Da elenco quasi cronachistico di vicende piú o meno osé, i suoi connotati piú rilevanti sono passati ad evidenziare l’ambiente in cui i fatti si svolgono, i rapporti tra avvenimenti e cornici, la trama dei protagonisti con l’ambiente in cui si muovono.

Roberto Pazzi, Il Corriere della Sera

Nella nostra tradizione narrativa il romanzo erotico non é un genere molto frequentato:profittando di questa scarsitá Gaia Servadio ne ha costruito uno.