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Montreal during the turbulent mid-1980’s: Chernobyl has set geiger counters thrumming across the globe, HIV/AIDS is cutting a deadly swath through the gay population worldwide, and locally, tempers are flaring over the language laws of Bill 101. Hiding out in a seedy apartment near the Concordia campus is Alex Fratarcangeli (“Don’t worry… I can’t even pronounce it myself”), a somewhat oafish 30-something grad student. Though tender and generous at heart, Alex leads a life devoid of healthy relationships, ashamed in particular of the damage he has done to the women with whom he has been romantically entangled. Plagued by the sensation that his entire life is a fraud, Alex attends daily sessions with a lackluster psychoanalyst in an attempt to shake off the demon of depression (and the cigarette-tinged voice of Peter Gzowski in his ear). Scarred by a distant father and a dangerous relationship with his ex Liz, and consumed by a floundering dissertation linking Darwin’s theory of evolution with the history…[more]
Set in the Valle del Sole, a village nestled in the folds of the Italian Apennines, Lives of the Saints tells the story of young Vittorio Innocente, and his mother, Cristina, whose affair with a blue-eyed stranger abruptly shatters the innocence of Vittorio’s childhood. As he tries to piece together the truth of his mother’s crime, we discover through Vittorio’s eyes the underside of Valle del Sole’s pastoral calm, the age-old superstitions and fears, vestiges of a pagan past, beneath the villagers’ veneer of Catholicism, and the hypocrisy and malice beneath their self-rightousness.
Set in Toronto and Italy, this powerful sequel to In a Glass House explores the sometimes forbidden aspect of desire and one’s longing for what is unrecoverable.
Victor Innocente remeets his half-sister in Toronto, shortly after his father’s death. Uneasy with their new proximity in each other’s lives, they are at first restrained. But gradually what is unspoken between them comes closer to the surface, setting in motion a course of events that will take Victor back to Valle del Sole in Italy, the place of his birth. It is there, where the story had its strange beginning twenty years earlier, that he confronts his past, its secrets and its revelations.
Poignant, gripping, and written in luminous, highly charged prose, Where She Has Gone is an unforgettable novel—for its vivid portrayal of character and place, and for its extraordinarily moving encounter with the past.