Sunday, 12 November 2017

The Sunday Book. San Michele.


                                                      The Story of San Michele.jpg

I believe that the bible is still one of the world's best selling books, and this must be another. The popularity of both mystify me.

Swede Axel Munthe's book about the island of Capri has been continuously printed for over 7 decades, and must be one of the world's most extraordinary publishing miracles.

In 1874, at the age of 17, Munthe arrived on the island of Capri, and (like so many) walked the long path up to the village of Anacapri (see book illustration). En route he discovered a ruined chapel, and decided at once that he would restore it, and the nearby ruined villa. The book tells of the restoration of the two buildings, and his life as a doctor in Italy and France.

If you have read the book (and many of you must have) you might agree with me that it is decidedly unremarkable. Factually interesting at most, but not a work of great literature; yet it continues to be a great favourite.

I wouldn't buy a copy, but if your local library or charity shop has it, it's worth giving it a go!




21 comments:

  1. Never 'erd of it. Sounds like he used to enjoy a bit of hanky panky while he was away.

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    Replies
    1. He probably needed his hanky to mop-up the panky.

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    2. He gave the Queen of Sweden more than just smelling salts.

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  2. I've read it at least 3 times. It has been many years now and I couldn't tell you why it is so good. Italy for a start. I will have to back and find out. I've read another book of his and his biography.

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    Replies
    1. I've read it twice, the second time was to see why I'd read it the first time!

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  3. Just flicked through it again. An amazing man. Such a wonderful story, of animals, of humans rich and poor, fascinating, and all on the Isle of Capri. So much in one lifetime.

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    Replies
    1. He certainly squeezed a lot into his time on earth. I still don't like the book though.

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  4. I expect Gracie Fields read it.

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    Replies
    1. I expect she visited his villa often; she lived further up the hill in Anacapri. I think she died there too.

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  5. I haven't read it. I haven't read the bible either.

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    Replies
    1. I haven't read the bible either; too much sex and bloodshed.

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  6. I've never heard of it either ..... is that bad ? I've been to Capri and was born in Gracie Fields house in Hampstead though !!! XXXX

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    Replies
    1. In which case you probably should have inherited his villa.

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  7. It probably spawned 'A Year in Provence'.

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  8. Haven't heard of it. Have heard of the bible and read some of the books, but far from all. Revelations is my favourite. I'm sure I walked up the path on the cover of your book. But can't be sure.

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    Replies
    1. Does that make sense? Probably not.

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    2. Yes, it all makes sense. I've not been to Capri, but if I was to visit I'd probably hire a helicopter.

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  9. His second book The Story of Rhyl and Prestatyn is a real page turner

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