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Maxim Jakubowski, editor and contributor to Venice Noir, spins an unusual tale of death on the Lido, a small sandbar near Venice, Italy. “Lido Winter” continues the theme of darkness that is one of the characteristics that ties together each story within Venice Noir. What makes this story unique though, is that death is administered in a way that perhaps many individuals would prefer to the violent or panicked death that comes upon some.
The first few scenes of “Lido Winter” make it seem like readers are being given purely a travel story that will have a bit of mystery and romance with two tourists on a vaporetto (a water bus). Then the woman who would have played one of the lead roles disappears, twisting the plot into the unknown. Jakubowski now presents readers with a man that returns to the city where he has one of his greatest adventures. He continues to wonder what happened to the woman on the vaporetto as he loses himself amid his memories and the streets of Lido.
Just as he is about to be desperately lost in the cold, the woman reappears, leading him to the place he is seeking. He recognizes her not just as the woman from the vaporetto, but as someone he has perhaps seen before. He cannot quite put the pieces of her appearance together to form a complete and accurate memory as to who she is to him and why she is helping him.
Readers are just as confused as the wandering man as their eyes glide over the words, but the way the entire story is presented by Jakubowski makes it an intriguing read. As the man starts to put together the memories of his past and tell the woman about the few memories that are returning to him, readers get clues to the role of this mysterious woman.
The more he tells this woman, the clearer it becomes to him and the readers of the purpose of every little action in the story thus far; the disappearance on the vaporetto, the wrong turn down a particular street and certain women popping into his mind at the site of the woman.
“Lido Winter” may not be the darkest of the short stories in Venice Noir, but it still holds the air of mystery that will keep readers wondering. As the confusion evaporates at the end of the story, a calm feeling will come over the reader and bring forth the wonderings about death and how it comes upon each person. Any story that allows a calm contemplation at its end is well worth the read.
Image Courtesy of Maxim Jakubowski