The Politics of Washing and over one million other books are available for Amazon Kindle. Learn more
Buy New
$12.55
Qty:1
  • List Price: $14.95
  • Save: $2.40 (16%)
FREE Shipping on orders over $35.
In Stock.
Ships from and sold by Amazon.com.
Gift-wrap available.
Add to Cart
Have one to sell? Sell on Amazon
Flip to back Flip to front
Listen Playing... Paused   You're listening to a sample of the Audible audio edition.
Learn more
See this image

The Politics of Washing: Real Life in Venice Paperback – April 1, 2014


See all 2 formats and editions Hide other formats and editions
Amazon Price New from Used from
Kindle
"Please retry"
Paperback
"Please retry"
$12.55
$9.09 $8.94


Frequently Bought Together

The Politics of Washing: Real Life in Venice + My Venice and Other Essays
Price for both: $16.07

Buy the selected items together
  • My Venice and Other Essays $3.52

Customers Who Bought This Item Also Bought

NO_CONTENT_IN_FEATURE

Image
Looking for the Audiobook Edition?
Tell us that you'd like this title to be produced as an audiobook, and we'll alert our colleagues at Audible.com. If you are the author or rights holder, let Audible help you produce the audiobook: Learn more at ACX.com.

Product Details

  • Paperback: 208 pages
  • Publisher: Robert Hale (April 1, 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0719808782
  • ISBN-13: 978-0719808784
  • Product Dimensions: 8.3 x 5.4 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.9 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #726,231 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

With four children in tow, Coles and her husband move from the comfort of an English village to live and work in Venice. The tourist vision of a baroque city floating in ineffable beauty above the Adriatic mist gives way to the reality of conducting life, finding an apartment, getting kids to school, shopping without a car, dealing with medical emergencies, and learning to contend with cranky natives bickering endlessly in the incomprehensible local dialect over what defines a real Venetian. Her brood of energetic kids makes her stand out in a city stagnating from a swiftly declining birthrate, and the children have trouble thriving in authoritarian, eager-to-punish classrooms. Coles learns to hang laundry outdoors properly and teaches herself to row a boat only to feature in tourist photos. Anyone who has visited Venice will find this dose of reality sharply, yet lovingly, contrasts with la serenissima’s fairy-tale facade. --Mark Knoblauch

Review

"She can write, fantastically well. . . . Venice deserves this dose of perspicacious pragmatism."  —Spectator

"...eloquent." —The New York Times
"For lovers of excursions, travel writing, and adventurous living." —Library Journal

More About the Author

Discover books, learn about writers, read author blogs, and more.

Customer Reviews

4.0 out of 5 stars
5 star
5
4 star
3
3 star
0
2 star
1
1 star
1
See all 10 customer reviews
An excellent read if you love Venice...and how can anyone not?
THE TEACH
Ms. Coles captures so many of the nuances of this spectacular city as well as the complex emotions one feels while walking the neighborhoods.
Marilyn Gottlieb Levy
Really funny in bits especially anecdotes involving belligerent Venetian bureaucrats.
Samuel Terris Taylor

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By takingadayoff TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on June 23, 2013
Format: Paperback
Imagine what it's like to live in Venice. You probably already have imagined. Even allowing for the reality of occasional flooding and constant tourist crowds, it still seems like a magnificently romantic place to live.

Your dream of living in Venice most likely doesn't include four children ages 12 and under, but Polly Coles, a Londoner, and her Italian husband don't let their large family keep them from taking the plunge and they all move to Venice for a year. It makes for a change from the typical retire-to-a-villa-in-France-or-Italy memoir.

The book seems unstructured, although it's set up as a chronological narrative of a year in Venice. It's more a collection of observations and vignettes of their life in a city that is both eternal and endangered. Coles describes the complicated logistics of having a new washing machine delivered and the old one taken away in a town without streets or cars or elevators. In true British fashion, she doesn't let the threat of rain (or even actual rain) stop her from holding a children's birthday party in the campo. She goes to parent-teacher conferences and grapples with "tu' and 'lei', the familiar and polite forms of 'you'.

And, in true Venetian form, Coles participates in the most popular local sport, complaining about tourists.

There's just as much complaining and snark about inconsiderate neighbors as about there is about clueless tourists, and Coles often stops to appreciate the beauty and unique atmosphere of her adopted town. You get the full picture, the Venetian warts as well as roses.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Judith Abraham on July 22, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I have travelled to Venice a number of times, and have often wished
I could live there. Polly Coles has written of my own brief experiences,
and added so many more that involve her children and daily life. This
really is Venice, as I knew it would be...
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By THE TEACH on June 4, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition
I enjoyed how well written this memoir is...couldn't put it down, actually. If you've been to Venice and imagined yourself living there, wondering what it would really be like, this is one way to glimpse the possibility. If you are a lover of Donna Leon' s Brunetti books, as am I, this gives you an in depth look at the allusions made there about life in Venice...the tourists that the locals despise but which now sustain the city ...the gypsies, the beggars, the Africans selling fake merchandise, the struggles of everyday life in a city without cars, super markets and all the other things we think we can't live without. And how the Venetians always know you're not one of them no matter that it's December and the city is nearly devoid of tourists, no matter how hard you try and wish you were. An excellent read if you love Venice...and how can anyone not?
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By james finnegan on August 29, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition
It was fate that I came into knowledge of this book. Confession time: I don't read much - maybe 10 books a year. My wife and her girlfriends had all read it as their choice book of the month, a selection that usually makes me turn my nose up (or back to the work emails or the renovations we are doing right now). However she persisted with me and eventually I caved and reluctantly began to read it. After the first chapter I was hooked. Polly really sheds light on the aspects of Venice that are glossed over by the travel books and the heavily doctored photographs you see. The depiction is clear: This is Venice as an actual city - in its stinking, bustling, rat-infested glory. Yes the cathedrals and the gondolas and the sonatas are all fantastic - but we've seen and heard all of these. This book answers the practical questions e.g. How do you transport a washing machine across town when your city is made out of water, how to keep your balance while punting. I will fight anyone who calls this a travel book!
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Robert E. Montgomery, Jr on August 15, 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I loved this book. Although I have traveled to Venice many times, and consider it a magical place, I will appreciate it even more on my next visit because of the unique insights into the customs and viewpoints of native Venetians provided by Ms Coles. Her thoughtful insights and discoveries are of a kind seldom found in even the best "travel books", whose authors are almost always viewing a culture as observers, rather than day-to-day participants. The experiences that Ms Coles relates, as she struggled with game determination to expose her four young children to their Italian heritage are always interesting and often hilarious. Her vivid portrait of a Dickensian school officialdom is by itself sufficient reward for reading this book.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again

Customer Images

Search

What Other Items Do Customers Buy After Viewing This Item?