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By Stephen Clarke

In line with Stephen Clarke's personal reports and with names replaced to "avoid embarrassment, attainable felony motion, and to avoid the author's legs being damaged via a person in a Yves Saint Laurent suit," A 12 months within the Merde provides excellent leisure for Francophiles and Francophobes alike.

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Extra resources for A Year in the Merde

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After a while, feeling, somewhat foolish—but not entirely——he had swum out the door. Over it he had noticed an inscription and stopped to read it, facemask centimeters from the stone. Around This Temple Let the Merchant’s Law Be Just, His Weight True, and His Covenants Faithful. It was an admonition to the old usurers of the Rialto, but he could make it his, he thought; the true weight could refer to the diving belts, not to overload his clients and sink them to the bottom… The memory passed and he was on the surface again, with a job to do.

Builders from Venice had come looking in the ruins for good marble or a staircase of the right dimensions… Briefly a tiny population had returned, to make lace and host those tourists who wanted to be melancholy; but the waters rose, and Torcello died for good. Carlo pushed off a wall with his oar, and a big section of it tilted over and sank. He tried not to notice. He rowed them to the open patch of water that had been the Piazza. Around them stood a few intact rooftops, no taller than the mast of their boat; broken walls of stone or rounded brick; the shadowy suggestion of walls just underwater.

The noise was tremendous. At the top of the wave it appeared he could jump in the campanile’s top windows—he got out the boat hook, shifted the tiller a touch, took a deep breath. Amid the roaring, the wave swept him just past the stone tower, smacking against it and splashing him; he pulled the tiller over hard, the boat shot into the wake of the campanile—he stood and swung the boat hook over a window casement above him. It caught, and he held on hard. He was in the lee of the tower. Broken water rose and dropped under the boat, hissing, but without violence, and he held.

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