Reading: Sarah Dunant “In the Company of the Courtesan”
If I were to judge a book by its cover, I wouldn’t have picked it up. However,, the title and synopsis was interesting. This suspense novel is peppered with rich historical facts of 16th century Italy, in the same genre as Donna Tartt’s novels peppered with exciting historical recreation of that era like a Ken Follett novel. Here is the kind of fiction that fills your soul.
All the more special as I spent countless weekends in Venice while I was living in Treviso, also in the Veneto area, 20 minutes by train to Venezia. I got to know the little alley ways, campo, calles etc intimately after getting lost in my first couple of weeks. I also contributed to an Anthology “Venice is not sinking” a courtesan short story set in the same era. My Murano glass rings that I don’t wear often today.
On the boobs bridge. “Ponte de la tete” as it reads, in the red light district, courtesans of the 16th century were said to be flashing their boobs out of the windows.
In the company of the Courtesan is a quick read and you won’t want to put it down. Narrated from the perspective of a hideous dwarf at the service of the courtesan, it takes us through Rome and then back to Venice. The 1500s is also the exact same period Shakespeare wrote The Merchants of Venice and this novel paints a pretty detailed picture of the bustling activities from the Rialto to the little glass town Murano.
I had done some research before writing my story. Every gondola has a comb with 6 teeth – Venezia is divided into little districts (sestieri) if you will. Some photos while researching the red light district of 16th century Venice… that was 11 years ago!