Night Letters

Night Letters Every night for twenty nights in a hotel room in Venice an Australian man recently diagnosed with an incurable disease writes a letter home to a friend In these letters he reflects on questions of mo

  • Title: Night Letters
  • Author: Robert Dessaix
  • ISBN: 9780330359917
  • Page: 306
  • Format: Paperback
  • Every night for twenty nights in a hotel room in Venice, an Australian man recently diagnosed with an incurable disease writes a letter home to a friend In these letters he reflects on questions of mortality, seduction and the search for paradise in deeply life enhancing ways.

    121 Comment

    • Jenny Lynch says:

      This was rather interesting. I still have some questions, but I guess I will never know. It did open my mind on certain subjects, such as life and death, and it mentioned a few historical figures and described many places around Italy. I would give this book a 3.7.

    • Matthew Gatheringwater says:

      This is a beautiful and lyrical book that uses both a literal and metaphorical journey to explore how life's meaning changes when the narrator encounters his mortality sooner than he might have hoped. I love the way this book is almost a practical guide to the consolations offered by art, literature, and philosophy. Themes including representations of The Annunciation (cleverly juxtaposed with getting the news of his disease diagnosis) or Dante's delineations of Hell or stories (such as a narrat [...]

    • Graham Crawford says:

      I enjoyed the style of this in much the same way as one enjoys the conversation of an entertaining stranger at a dinner party, but every time I put this book down, I didn't feel like re-engaging with it. I guess I like my stories too much to get a lot of pleasure from this sort of "post-structural" narrative. On an historical note - it's also an interesting record of someone dealing with HIV in the 90's - though it's broad enough to have significance for anyone living on borrowed time. I don't w [...]

    • Sam Schroder says:

      This book is set for study in the NSW HSC English Extension 1 elective called Textual Dynamics. I read it to decide whether or not it is one of the texts I will choose to use with my class for 2018. The jury is out on that until I read the other two but my instinct is to hope one of the others feels more suitable as I don't feel like this book will sit well with the students in my class. The premise of 20 letters in 20 nights had me intrigued and the free-writing, topic-hopping, story-telling st [...]

    • Pauline says:

      La qualité épistolaire de ce roman en fait un terrain fertile à l’introspection. Au travers d’un voyage entre la Suisse et l’Italie, le narrateur nous livre ses réflexions sur la vie et la mort, de soi à soi (l’”autre”, destinataire des lettres, reste inconnu).L’intégration d’histoires qui deviennent presque des fables nous laisse incapables de lâcher le livre !En bref : une sensibilité admirable et un regard honnête avec soi-même sur l’approche de la mort, et ainsi s [...]

    • Bronl says:

      I couldn't put down Night Letters. I have read two Dessaix's in two weeks and I highly recommend them. A brilliant, unique Australian voice

    • Miguel says:

      This is one of those books that it is read (and loved) in an intimate and very personal way, almost as if it has been written only for us, to our measure. RD is Australian and in this travel book disguised as a novel disguised as a notebook disguised as an essay on illness disguised as light amusement disguised as a collection of short stories, or everything in opposite, he stages a trip to Europe, to Venice of all destinations, that it is more than a self discovery journey, and more a travel of [...]

    • Katie Anne says:

      A series of letters written home, a man struggles with the end of life by taking a trip to Italy. Inside the main character's retelling are further stories, different ways humans struggle with life and death. Lyrical and focused on meaning, it isn't necessarily the most realistic of dialogue. For those who find the mystery and appeal of places like Venice overdone, you should skip this book, since much of it takes place in northern Italy, ending in Venice. Still, for those who enjoy folklore, fa [...]

    • Paul Kidd says:

      There is a dearth of Australian fiction about HIV/AIDS – apart from Holding The Man and Take Me To Paris, Johnny, there's not much in which HIV is a central theme. Dessaix wrote Night Letters in the mid-1990s when he was coming to terms with his own HIV diagnosis, but the book never mentions the incurable disease its narrator is dying from. This is a semi-autobiographical roman à clef in which HIV plays a supporting role. It's a beautifully crafted meditation on mortality, literature and the [...]

    • Debbie Robson says:

      At first glance I thought this novel was just a collection of travel writings but it is so much more. It is a meditation on life and death and travel as metaphor for escaping. Two stories told to the letterwriter are actually about escape and of course that's what our narrator wants to do when he hears his diagnosis. To my mind though I like the cross current of location and story. I just found the third story rather weak compared to the other two and didn't get a sense of Padua as opposed to Lo [...]

    • Colleen Dixon says:

      This is exactly the sort of book that delights me-- part travelogue, part personal essay, with some fanciful storytelling to spice things up. Dessaix's genuine erudition adds depth but is rarely used just to show off. I wish I'd discovered him long ago. but I'm looking forward to the delights before me.

    • Kay Hart says:

      I loved this book. It was the first of Robert Dessaix's writings that I read, and it was such a great introduction to his thoughtful work. It is several years since I read it, and it is due for a re-read, but that may have to wait a while yet as I have so many others to read at present.

    • Lewlewlew says:

      I remember trying to finish this book on the night I was in labour with my first daughter.Between increasingly intense contractions, I floated in Robert Dessaix's beautiful prose, until it became evident that it was time to go and have a baby.

    • Eliza says:

      I love how the book was broken up into 3 sections, and each section had within it a fantastical story that the author comes across on his travels. It made the book feel very magical. My favorite was the 1st section, with the story of the brooch.

    • Jay says:

      I read this for book club. As it is about twenty years old, the thinking of the day is certainly different from that of now. The writing is wonderfully evocative, and the philosophical and ethical musings were useful and provocative. Descriptive passages were delectable.

    • Katie M. says:

      A series of travelogues/letters/journal entries/reflections from an unnamed gay narrator doing the Europe-through-a-classist-lens tour. I could tell what it wanted to be but it never really got there.

    • Moureco says:

      E foi com este livro que me apaixonei pela escrita de Robert Dessaix. Não há outro termo: apaixonado até hoje. 'Corfu' é melhor, é mais denso e interessante, mas estas cartas também o são. Excelente leitura.

    • John says:

      A pleasant read, held my engagement, but I was left wondering.did I miss the point? (This could be more a reflection on me than the book, but nevertheless )

    • Maggie says:

      Beautiful writing. He has a great reading voice.

    • Karen says:

      This is one of my favourite books. It's an exploration of meaning and purpose of a life, using literature, art, fairy tales and travel.

    • Kate says:

      Some lovely lines but dragged, like his listening to travellers stories.

    • Stephen Castley says:

      I would not have chosen it, but as a gift I read it and ended up enjoying it. It's had great reviews. There are short stories told withing the larger book and these held the greatest appeal for me.

    • James says:

      The story begins with a letter from Venice dated April 1st (perhaps the date is important?). In fact this novella is epistolary so each chapter is another letter.

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