Four Seasons in Rome: On Twins, Insomnia, and the Biggest Funeral in the History of the World

by Anthony Doerr

Hardcover, 2007

Status

Available

Publication

New York : Scribner, c2007.

Description

"Four Seasons in Rome describes Anthony Doerr's varied adventures in one of the most enchanting cities in the world. He reads Pliny, Dante, and Keats - the chroniclers of Rome who came before him - and visits the piazzas, temples, and ancient cisterns they describe. He attends the vigil of a dying Pope John Paul II and takes his twins to the Pantheon in December to wait for snow to fall through the oculus. He and his family are embraced by the butchers, grocers, and bakers of the neighborhood, whose clamor of stories and idiosyncratic child-rearing advice is as compelling as the city itself. This intimate and revelatory book is a celebration of Rome, a look at new parenthood, and a story of a writer's craft - the process by which he transforms what he sees and experiences into sentences."--BOOK JACKET.… (more)

User reviews

LibraryThing member aliciamalia
This is another NPR book, but unfortunately one that makes for a better interview than read. It's about an American couple living for a year in Rome with 6-month old twins. That's about all there is to it. It's fairly sweet and charming, but never really rises about the level of an edited journal.
LibraryThing member debnance
Doerr, a fiction writer, wins an award that provides him with a place to stay and writing time in Rome for a year. The problem? His wife has just given birth to twins and his life has forever changed. Doerr spends a tremendous amount of time writing about how he is having trouble writing. If you can get past that, there is great beauty to be found in the writing he achieves.… (more)
LibraryThing member judithrs
Four Seasons in Rome: On Twins, Insomia, and the Biggest Funeral in the History of the World. Anthony Doerr. 2007. I wanted to book a flight to Rome about 10 pages into this book! On the day the author and his wife bring twin boys home from the hospital, they receive notice that he has won the Rome Prize from the American Academy of Arts and Letters. This is a lyrical account of that year. He is supposed to be working on a novel about WWII but finds himself reading Pliny musing on the art, history and beauty of Rome and learning how to be a father, and struggling with Italian.… (more)
LibraryThing member satyridae
I couldn't enter into this book very deeply. I kept getting distracted by the author's whining about how hard writing is. I agree with Michele, I'd love to read this book as written by his wife. Some of the vignettes were lovely, but for the most part it was too self-conscious, too precious- even the self-deprecating parts felt forced to me.… (more)
LibraryThing member volvomom
Yet another vacation read! Of course, being a mom of twins I was hooked when I saw that the book dealt with someone traveling abroad with newborn twins. However, I found it to get a bit too "cootchie-cootchie" cutsie on the parenting side of things, at least for me. Some of Doerr's views on living in Rome presented a neat cross-cultural perspective, which I did appreciate. Otherwise, the book was ok.… (more)
LibraryThing member Dmtcer
I loved this book; now I wish someone would give ME a scholarship, all expenses paid to live in Rome and write for a year!
LibraryThing member jwood652
Anthony Doerr won the prestigious Rome prize, getting a year in the fascinating city. It happened to be the year that Pope John Paul II died and Benedict XVI became pope. Joining him was his wife, along with their six month old twin boys. With Doerr's tremendous writing skills, he lovingly describes present day Rome, its colorful sights, culture and history enhanced by enjoying this year with his young sons. This book is a testament to one of the world's greatest and most ancient cities as well as the joys and challenges of parenting twins.… (more)
LibraryThing member jwood652
Anthony Doerr won the prestigious Rome prize, getting a year in the fascinating city. It happened to be the year that Pope John Paul II died and Benedict XVI became pope. Joining him was his wife, along with their six month old twin boys. With Doerr's tremendous writing skills, he lovingly describes present day Rome, its colorful sights, culture and history enhanced by enjoying this year with his young sons. This book is a testament to one of the world's greatest and most ancient cities as well as the joys and challenges of parenting twins.… (more)
LibraryThing member baystateRA
Before Anthony Doerr became famous for the novel All the Light We Cannot See, he had to write the book. He writes about working on it (and about not working on it) in Four Seasons in Rome, a memoir about the author’s year in Rome with a studio to write in and an apartment to live in, covered by a stipend.
Literary and lyrical except for a few episodes of parenting panic and moments when he wonders “what was I thinking when I accepted the Rome Prize with newborn twins?”, this book about reading, writing, and the terrifying and wonderful experience of being a new parent and living for a year in the heart of Rome when you don’t speak much Italian will appeal to readers of literary memoirs.… (more)
LibraryThing member SeriousGrace
Imagine coming home from the hospital after your wife has just given birth to twins and discovering you have won an award that will send you to Rome for a year, an award you didn't ask for or even know about. So, six months later you pack up aforementioned wife and boys and off to Rome you go. Doerr spends the next year reading Pliny, exploring the ancient city and marveling at life BT (before twins) and AT (after twins). He is observant and witty on all accounts but by his own admission is too busy staring at Italy to write anything constructive. Until Four Seasons is born. If you are to read just one page of Four Seasons in Rome I strongly recommend reading page 141, starting with "What is Rome".… (more)
LibraryThing member devilish2
A beautiful meditation on writing, Rome, twins, life, architecture, history, learning Italian, light, starlings. Motifs recur and curl back into the storyline.
LibraryThing member kerns222
Shows that:
if you keep a journal
if you get a fancy prize that lets you live somewhere interesting
if you (and spouse-wife) just had twins
if you just wrote a great book
then you can publish anything
(fun to read, easy to read, life in Rome-speaking no Italian and changing 2000 diapers)
… (more)
LibraryThing member alanteder
This is a lovely memoir filled with very evocative portraits of people and places in Rome and often fascinating trivia about the "Eternal City." Writer Doerr with his wife and 2 newborn sons spent a year in Rome from mid-2004 to mid-2005 thanks to the American Academy of Arts.

Doerr worked on the early writing and research for his later Pulitzer Prize winning novel "All the Light We Cannot See" (2014) and completed the short story "Village 113" about the Chinese Three Gorges Dam project (collected in "Memory Wall" (2007) during this time and wrote his notes and journal entries that became the basis of this book.

Thanks to my friend Karan for introducing me to and gifting this book! (less)
… (more)

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