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Four Seasons in Rome: On Twins, Insomnia, and the Biggest Funeral in the History of the World Paperback – Bargain Price, June 10, 2008


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Scribner (June 10, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 141657316X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1416573166
  • ASIN: B001OW5MSI
  • Product Dimensions: 8 x 5.3 x 0.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 6.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (105 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,359,069 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Acclaimed novelist and short story writer Doerr turns out a well-observed chronicle of his family's year in Rome, when he was a fellow at the American Academy of Arts and Letters. Doerr is a precise, lyrical writer who, dividing his book into seasons, captures in equal measures the wonder of the Italian countryside, the mind-boggling history of the Eternal City and the measured joys and trials of parenting twin baby boys. Upon their autumn arrival, it is the boys who most connect Doerr and his wife to their new city: "Grown men in suits stop and crouch over the stroller and croon. Older men in particular. Che carini. Che belli. What cuties. What beauties." In Spring, Doerr captures well the color and emotionof the vigil for the dying Pope John Paul II, providing insight into the man and his death: "More than three miles of artwork hang in the Vatican Museum and the pope could have any of it brought in front of him...Instead, he wants only to hear something read from the Bible in Polish." The memoir is full of other such rewarding passages, and anyone with fond memories of Rome will want to savor it slowly. Illustrations.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Booklist

The recipient of an American Academy fellowship, Doerr, his wife, and their twin newborns are on their way to Rome for a year. Cultural isolation, the death of John Paul II, struggles to complete a novel, and the tales of first-time parenthood uniquely blend together as Doerr meanders his way through a one-year Roman holiday. Along the way, he meets Romans quick to praise his twins, Romans quick to prejudge an American, and Romans happy to share the secrets of their city with him. Set against this backdrop, Doerr finds it difficult to focus on the novel he plans on writing; instead, like so many other visitors, he falls for the Eternal City. For readers who have been to Rome, Doerr's reflections will leave them longing for a return trip. For those who have not, Doerr's stories of piazzas and pizzas will have them checking travel arrangements. Either way, this memoir is a wonderful combination of a writer's two dominant struggles: cultural identity and family. Blair Parsons
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Customer Reviews

Doerr's love for the city and its culture comes out in his writing.
ClareMarie
I've thoroughly enjoyed seeing Rome through the eyes of Anthony Doerr and his family.
Caroline Maryan
I highly recommend this book.....and look forward to reading it again myself.
Karen L. Norris

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

36 of 38 people found the following review helpful By Ian N. on July 3, 2007
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I don't read much -- I have a really short attention span -- but anything about Rome usually catches my attention. I've been there a few times and have absolutely fallen in love with that city. Some travelogs about Rome are too highbrow for me, or a little too intellectual, so I'm always searching for non-fiction that conveys a real sense of the city. This book did it. It's very easy to read, and the author so perfectly nails the details about the city (and even gave me a few clues about new things to go and see that I haven't seen before!). The way he describes the nuances of each season makes me crave a return trip. It's a beautifully-written book, for anyone who loves Rome, or for anyone who's curious about visiting this most amazing city.
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27 of 29 people found the following review helpful By Matthew Goldberg on June 19, 2007
Format: Hardcover
In a word, fantastic. Perhaps the clearest tribute is that I've never been to Rome, raised children, nor tried to write a novel, yet still found this book to be wonderfully compelling. "Four Seasons in Rome" is alternatively hysterical and poignant, and always beautifully written. Doerr - an accomplished fiction writer - couldn't have made a smoother transition to a new genre. In fact, his nearly super human powers of perception are especially well-suited for describing and bringing to life the sounds, smells, feel, and wonder of everday Rome. A perfect reminder of the beauty of the seemingly mundane. And a perfect summer read for just about anyone.
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21 of 23 people found the following review helpful By Rushmore VINE VOICE on August 27, 2007
Format: Hardcover
If you have ever had children...if you have travelled or want to travel to Europe...you should read this book! It is a relatively quick read, which is good for busy people - you won't be able to put it down.

Anthony Doerr recognized a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, that happened to come along at a most inopportune time, and grabbed it. On the day his twin sons were born, Mr. Doerr received notification that he had received a grant to study or work at pretty much whatever he wanted for a year in Rome. Luckily his wife Shauna also must have recognized the necessity of grabbing this chance while it was available, and so they packed up their babies and traveled from Boise to Rome. Lucky for us, he decided to spend part of his time constructing this memoir.

After reading Doerr's elegant, evocative prose, it's easy to see why the powers-that-be decided that his gift should be nurtured. He is just as awed by the adventure of raising his children as by the experience of living in Rome. Unlike other books in this very broad genre of expat memoir, Doerr does not focus on the quirks and foibles of the Italians. Rather, he describes his own little circle of family, friends and acquaintances and frequently lapses into long lyrical musings on historical events, nature, or whatever happens to strike his fancy. "The Biggest Funeral in the History of the World," aka the funeral of Pope John Paul II, is not treated as a gigantic pageant, despite the hyperbolic title. Through Doerr's eyes it is a profoundly moving and inclusive experience shared by millions.

I loved this book. It is the kind of book you want to urge your friends and loved ones to read, to give as a gift. I look forward to reading much more from this gifted and warm writer.
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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Karen L. Norris on July 12, 2007
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This was one of the best books I've read in a long time. I've never read any of Mr Doerr's books before, but his style and thought and descriptions were so absorbing.....being a grandmother of three, two of them small boys, I loved every word of his descriptions of his sons.
Also being a raging italophile, I loved the descriptions of Rome and the countryside as well, let alone he and his wife's bravery at moving to a foreign coumtry with not one, but two newborns!
I highly recommend this book.....and look forward to reading it again myself.
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24 of 27 people found the following review helpful By Mary Lins TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on June 25, 2007
Format: Hardcover
I purchased "Four Season in Rome" after hearing an interview with Anthony Doerr on NPR. My oldest son has just completed 5 years of studies in Rome and I have been there to visit him many times. I hoped that the book would evoke memories of my trips and of his experiences living there; it did...and more so! While Mr. Doerr is more than kind to both the city and to Romans in general, he does paint a vivid and fascinating picture of this most unusual and unforgettable city. And as a BONUS the book is as much about raising twin boys as it is about the city! In short, I loved it and I will be purchasing more copies for Christmas gifts to family members who also love Rome AND who happen to have twins, as well!
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Antonio Lopez on January 2, 2008
Format: Hardcover
As an American who moved to Rome to have a baby, I can relate to this book. My experience is different. I live with an Italian and all my friends are Roman, but I still found Doerr's observations lyrical and prescient. As a new father, I actually enjoyed how he was learning the city as he became a parent, an experience I know and grok completely. It was useful to see how someone had to endure a lot of the same difficulties that I have experience. How often do you get to read something parallel to your own life? I also enjoyed his descriptions. For me they came quite close to my own observations, as distant as they may be (a fact that he acknowledges). I read the book on a the train from Rome to Turin, so it's something that is quite fast and easy on the mind. Additionally I enjoyed his sense of impermanence and how that is a character of Rome. Bravo!
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More About the Author

Anthony Doerr has won numerous prizes for his fiction. His most recent novel, All the Light We Cannot See, was named a best book of 2014 by a number of publications, and was a #1 New York Times Bestseller. Visit him at www.anthonydoerr.com.

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