Correspondence

What Epimenides Said

Among the unaccountable peculiarities of this diary, and indeed of my general wav of seeing things, is that one can never expect to learn something of Capri from my impressions of Capri. And yet, I keep asking as though to placate myself, why should it be otherwise? I am aboard the Stamos with a group of friends who had foregathered at a beachfront villa in Sabaudia and then sailed the 90-foot catamaran—built to race in the Americas Cup—to Ponza, Ischia, and Capri. I don't know anything about sailing apart from the Dutch naval terms that entered the Russian language at the time of Peter the Great. I don't know any more about the Amalfi Coast than any sunburnt accountant who has ever eaten the insalata caprese or appeased his girlfriend with a pair of Capri pants in cerulean cotton twill. The sea is blue and warm, obviously. The coast, as anyone who has seen the Bay of Naples on the wall of a pizzeria can recall, is rocky and picturesque. The mozzarella is delicious, and the girls are buxom. So, what is there to say?

Besides, my mind is back in Venice, where I just learned that our landlady at the Palazzo Mocenigo, the young contessa with the lawyer whose verbs are always in a mysterious mood, does not intend to renew our lease when it expires in the autumn. I now need to find another place to live, one that would be cheap enough not to alienate myself from the affections of friends yet grand enough...

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