Books: Venice Observed

THE SMILE ON THE FACE OF THE LION by P. M. Pasinetti. 341 pages. Random House. $5.95.

Bernardo is an Italian giant, a cultured Camera. Men stand in awe of him. Women compulsively fondle his "countryside muscles," nibble "the vast fleshy shell of his ear," imagine how many millions he is worth. Several. Born near Venice, he migrated early to America, and has become one of the leading U.S. art dealers. Magari! He is not happy. "Cosmic nausea" overwhelms him: "He looks like someone who is living in the third person." Pursued by "vague shadows of insanity," he returns to Italy seeking...

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