Friday, April 27, 2012

Forgotten Books: William Goldman's The Silent Gondoliers: A Fable by S. Morgenstern

Sure, everyone remembers S. Morgenstern's masterpiece, The Princess Bride, but how many of you remember this one?  It's not a novel.  It's a novella, stretched out to a bit over 100 pages in this paperback edition by a lot of nice illustrations.

For a couple of chapters Morgenstern tells about his research into the question of why the gondoliers in Venice no longer sing.  It's hard for him to get a straight answer.  Then he launches into his story, which has to do with Luigi, a gondolier who wants to be a great singer but who has a terrible voice.  Soon, he's not even a gondolier, because who'd want a gondolier who can't sing?  

As in The Princess Bride, Morgenstern uses plenty of digressions and asides to get the story told, but he does get it told.  I didn't find it as funny and wonderful as The Princess Bride, which is a great novel, and if you haven't read it, you should shut off your computer right now and find a copy and get started.  If you have read it, then you'll probably want to pick up The Silent Gondoliers.  While it doesn't have the same magic, it casts a little spell of its own.


George said...

I have THE SILENT GONDOLIERS but never read it. I found William Goldman's fiction to be uneven.

Sergio (Tipping My Fedora) said...

I agree wholeheartedly - PRINCESS BRIDE is a classic and this is a wonderful little adjunct to it (as is the short sequel, BUTTERCUPS BABY, to be found in the 25th anniversary edition of PRINCESS). Goldman's great success as a prose writers will hopefully not be overshadowed completed by his Oscar-wining screenwork.

Greta post Bill and congrats too on your remarkable record for weekly posts for Patti!

joe lansdale said...

One of my favorite writers. I love all his books except BROTHERS, and don't hate it.