The Painter of Souls

An extraordinary story of passion, art, and intrigue, this novel journeys to a time and place in Italy where desire reigns supreme—and salvation is found in the strangest of places.Beauty can be a gift—or a wicked temptation.So it is for Filippo Lippi, growing up in Renaissance Florence. He has a talent—not only can he see the beauty in everything, he can capture it, paint it. But while beauty can seduce you and art can transport you—it cannot always feed you or protect you.To survive, Pippo Lippi, orphan, street urchin, budding rogue, must first become Fra Filippo Lippi: Carmelite friar, man of God. His life will take him down two paths at once. He will become a gambler, a forger, a seducer of nuns; and at the same time he will be the greatest painter of his time, the teacher of Botticelli and the confidante of the Medicis.So who is he really—lover, believer, father, teacher, artist? Is anything true except the paintings?
Views: 637

The Substitution Order

From Martin Clark—praised by Entertainment Weekly as "our best legal-thriller writer"—comes a wickedly clever, tenderhearted, and intricately plotted novel about a hard-luck lawyer's refusal to concede defeat, even as fate, the court system and a gang of untouchable conmen conspire against him.Kevin Moore, once a high-flying Virginia attorney, hits rock bottom after an inexplicably tumultuous summer leaves him disbarred and separated from his wife. Short on cash and looking for work, he lands in the middle of nowhere with a job at SUBstitution, the world's saddest sandwich shop. His closest confidants: a rambunctious rescue puppy and the twenty-year-old computer-whiz manning the restaurant counter beside him. He's determined to set his life right again, but the troubles keep coming. And when a bizarre, mysterious stranger wanders into the shop armed with a threatening "invitation" to join a multi-million-dollar scam, Kevin will need every bit of his...
Views: 629

Beyond Babylon

Introduction by Jhumpa LahiriRecipient of a prestigious 2018 PEN/Heim Translation Fund GrantAn epic spread across three nations, Beyond Babylon casts a probing, endlessly perceptive eye on the lasting effects of traumas both national and personal. Telling the engrossing lives of two half-sisters who meet coincidentally in Tunisia, their mothers, and the elusive father who ties all their stories together, Igiaba Scego's virtuosic novel spreads thickly over Argentina's horrific dirty war, the chaotic final years of Siad Barre's brutal dictatorship in Somalia—which ended in catastrophic civil war—and the modern-day excesses of Italy's right-wing politics.United by the Italian government's attempts to establish authoritarian politics in Somalia, Argentina, and at home, Scego's kaleidoscopic plot investigates deep questions about our complicity in the governments that we often feel powerless to affect. In its myriad characters, locations, and...
Views: 589


A wildly imaginative novel of the reluctant heroine who rescued life on earth.With the coming of the Great Flood—the mother of all disasters—only one family was spared, drifting on an endless sea, waiting for the waters to subside. We know the story of Noah, moved by divine vision to launch their escape. Now, in a work of astounding invention, acclaimed writer Sarah Blake reclaims the story of his wife, Naamah, the matriarch who kept them alive. Here is the woman torn between faith and fury, lending her strength to her sons and their wives, caring for an unruly menagerie of restless creatures, silently mourning the lover she left behind. Here is the woman escaping into the unreceded waters, where a seductive angel tempts her to join a strange and haunted world. Here is the woman tormented by dreams and questions of her own—questions of service and self-determination, of history and memory, of the kindness or cruelty of fate. In fresh and...
Views: 585

I Am God

Diabolically funny and subversively philosophical, Italian novelist Giacomo Sartori's I Am God is the diary of the Almighty's existential crisis that erupts when he falls in love with a human. I am God. Have been forever, will be forever. Forever, mind you, with the razor-sharp glint of a diamond, and without any counterpart in the languages of men. So begins God's diary of the existential crisis that ensues when, inexplicably, he falls in love with a human. And not just any human, but a geneticist and fanatical atheist who's certain she can improve upon the magnificent creation she doesn't even give him the credit for. It's frustrating, for a god. God has infinitely bigger things to occupy his celestial attentions. Yet he can't tear his eyes (so to speak) from the geneticist who's unsettlingly avid when it comes to science, sex, and Sicilian cannoli. Whatever happens, he must safeguard his transcendental dignity. So he...
Views: 510

A Girl Returned

Winner of the Campiello Prize. A pitch-perfect rendering in English by Ann Goldstein, Elena Ferrante's translator. "I was the Arminuta, the girl returned. I spoke another language, I no longer knew who I belonged to. The word 'mama' stuck in my throat like a toad. And, nowadays, I really have no idea what kind of place mother is. It is not mine in the way one might have good health, a safe place, certainty." Told with an immediacy and a rare expressive intensity that has earned it countless adoring readers and one of Italy's most prestigious literary prizes, A Girl Returned marks the English-language debut of an extraordinary literary talent. Set against the stark, beautiful landscape of Abruzzo in central Italy, this is a compelling story about mothers and daughters, about responsibility, siblings, and caregiving. Without warning or explanation, an unnamed 13-year-old girl is sent away from the family she has always thought of as hers to live...
Views: 453

The Many Aspects of Mobile Home Living

In this masterful debut, Martin Clark proves to be the heir apparent of great Southern raconteurs and the envy of more seasoned novelists as he takes us on a frantic tour of the modern south. Hung over, beaten by the unforgiving sun, bitter at his estranged wife, and dreading the day’s docket of petty criminal cases, Judge Evers Wheeling is in need of something on the morning he's accosted by Ruth Esther English. Ruth Esther's strange story certainly is something, and Judge Wheeling finds himself in uncharted territory. Reluctantly agreeing to help Ruth Esther retrieve some stolen money, he recruits his pot-addled brother and a band of merry hangers-on for the big adventure. Raucous road trips, infidelity, suspected killers, winning Lotto tickets, drunken philosophical rants, and at least one naked woman tied to a road sign ensue in The Many Aspects of Mobile Home Living , one part legal thriller, one part murder mystery, and all parts all wild. ** ReviewPenzler Pick, April 2000: The world of mystery has long accepted the occasional offbeat tour de force that veers into the realm of uncertain reality. Even if its author might be startled to hear it, The Many Aspects of Mobile Home Living fits comfortably, I think, into the splendid list that includes John Dickson Carr's The Burning Court , Russell Greenan's It Happened in Boston , and William Hjortsberg's Falling Angel. At the same time, it is like none of those books. Imagine John Grisham crossed with Alice Hoffman and you might come closer to what's going on in these highly entertaining pages. The story itself offers interlocking strands that come together in the person of Evers Wheeling, a preternaturally young North Carolina judge who's headed to the dogs with his eyes wide open, "waiting to hit bottom," as he puts it. But just before he makes it there, into his life comes a blonde in trouble with an outrageous (and ever-mutating) tale of a brother who needs help avoiding a jail sentence. That this brother turns out not to resemble his sister in the slightest--he's an African-American dwarf, and strong for his size--is just a small surprise in the overall scheme of things. (Here you might start trying to picture The Maltese Falcon as rewritten by Charles Portis.) There's an elusive prize, possibly a cache of rare stamps worth millions, and a decided falling-out between an uncertain alliance of thieves; there's also a brutal murder, one that's close enough to home to put Evers Wheeling on trial for his own life. In addition to all this, there's Evers's brother, Pascal, to reckon with: he's the one with the double-wide trailer parked back in the woods, the IQ that's off the charts, the preference for staying stoned, and the one trying to help his sibling in any way he can, no matter the illegality. The Many Aspects of Mobile Home Living is enough to put Good Ole Boys back in style. But until Martin Clark writes his next book, I guess all I can do is go back and reread Michael Malone's equally memorable--and moving-- Handling Sin , perhaps the best Southern novel of the past quarter-century. --Otto PenzlerFrom Publishers Weekly Clark, a circuit court judge in Virginia, has written a sophisticated legal thriller that is closer to the drug-besotted dadaism of Tom McGuane's early novels than to John Grisham. Evers Wheeling is a judge living in the small town of Norton, N.C. His wife, Jo Miller, refuses to visit him there; she lives, instead, on a farm Evers bought her near Durham. Evers and his brother, Pascal, inherited a fortune, but Pascal dissipated his share rapidly because "you're only young once, but you can be immature forever." One hungover morning, Evers is confronted by enigmatic Ruth Esther English, a used-car saleswoman with an inexplicable peculiarity: she cries white alabaster tears ("small bright circles... like a row of marble dimes") when she offers Evers money to intervene in favor of her brother, Artis, who is up on a cocaine possession charge. Artis holds a clue that would allow Ruth Esther to locate $100,000 hidden after a robbery committed by Ruth, Artis and their late foster father. In a separate development, Evers, acting on a tip, discovers Jo Miller in flagrante with a local farmer. Egged on by Pascal's pot-smoking friends, Evers takes up with Ruth Esther and her lawyer, Pauletta Lightwren Qwai. Among Evers's less charming qualities are his bigotry and sexism, but Pauletta, a black activist, is attracted by some buried decency in the judge. As the couple lurch toward romance, Evers is mired in ever more shattering discoveries--the worst of which involves his wife and his brother. When Evers's vicious divorce trial is interrupted by violent death, Clark expertly causes Evers's own story and Ruth Esther's case to converge, delivering an enthralling mix of Southern gothic excess and legal procedure. BOMC and QPB alternate selection. Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc. 
Views: 450

The Girl at the Door

A tense, provocative and nuanced novel about a rape accusation in an idyllic commune I was in my sixth month when the girl came knocking. The girl came empty handed. On the threshold, her hair down, her jeans tight. 'Are you the professor's wife?' the girl asked me. 'I have to speak to you,' she said. 'The professor raped me,' the girl said.
Views: 408

The Art of Listening

Stories don't emerge out of thin air. They're inspired from what we see, what we hear and most importantly, what we experience. Sometimes they're funny, sometimes moving, often plain weird. All a writer has to do is – listen.In this intriguing and occasionally surreal volume of novellas and shorter fiction, BAFTA-nominated screenwriter and acclaimed novelist Paul A. Mendelson explores with humour and pathos how our worlds make us so vulnerably human. A volunteer on a helpline hears a voice at the other end that changes her world forever...A failing scriptwriter tries to sell his mad movie to a famous director by pretending it's the story of his life...A proud Scotsman wakes up after a mild stroke to discover he has turned English...A middle-aged man whose young father died before he was born meets his long lost parent in a dusty attic...A husband leaves his wife forever – until he realises he has left his precious watch behind...Paul A. Mendelson has created several...
Views: 324

Mrs Peixada

This is a reproduction of the historic book, Mrs Pexiada By Henry Harland (AKA Sidney Luska) . This was originally published in 1886. Here is an excerpt:CHAPTER I—A CASE IS STATED. ON more than one account the 25th of April will always be a notable anniversary in the calendar of Mr. Arthur Ripley. To begin with, on that day he pocketed his first serious retainer as a lawyer. He got down-town a little late that morning. The weather was superb—blue sky and summer temperature. Central Park was within easy walking distance. His own engagements, alas, were not pressing. So he had treated himself to an afterbreakfast ramble across the common. On entering his office, toward eleven o’clock, he was surprised to find the usually empty chairs already tenanted. Mr. Mendel, the brewer, was established there, in company with two other gentlemen whom Arthur did not recognize. The sight of these visitors caused the young man a palpitation. Could it be—? He dared not complete the thought. That a client had at last sought him out, was too agreeable an hypothesis to be entertained. Mr. Mendel greeted him with the effusiveness for which he is distinguished, and introduced his companions respectively as Mr. Peixada and Mr. Rimo. Of old time, when Arthur’s father was still alive, and when Arthur himself had trotted about in knee-breeches and short jackets, Mr. Mendel had been their next door neighbor. Now he made the lawyer feel undignified by asking a string of personal questions: “Vail, how iss mamma?” and “Not married yet, eh?” and “Lieber Gott! You must be five-and-twenty—so tall, and with dot long mustache—yes?” And so forth; smiling the while with such benevolence that Arthur could not help answering politely, though he did hope that a desire for family statistics was not the sole motive of the brewer’s visit. But by and by Mendel cleared his throat, and assumed a look of importance. His voice modulated into a graver key, as he announced, “The fact is that we—or rather, my friends, Mr. Peixada and Mr. Rimo—want to consult you about a little matter of business.” He leaned back in his chair, drawing a deep breath, as though the speech had exhausted him; mopped his brow with his handkerchief, and flourished his thumb toward Peixada. “Ah,” replied Arthur, bowing to the latter, “I am happy to be at your service, sir.” “Yes,” said Peixada, in a voice several sizes larger than the situation required, “Mr. Mendel recommends you to us as a young man who is smart, and who, at the same time, is not so busy but that he can bestow upon our affairs the attention we wish them to have.” Notwithstanding Arthur’s delight at the prospect of something to do, Peixada’s tone, a mixture as it was of condescension and imperiousness, jarred a little. Arthur did not like the gratuitous assumption that he was “not so busy,” etc., true though it might be; nor did he like the critical way in which Peixada eyed him. “Indeed,” he said, speaking of it afterward, “it gave me very much such a sensation as a fellow must experience when put up for sale in the Turkish slave market—a feeling that my ’points’ were being noted, and my money value computed. I half expected him to continue, ’Open your mouth, show your teeth!’. Peixada was a tall, portly individual of fifty-odd, with a swarthy skin, brown, beady eyes, a black coat upon his back, and a fat gold ring around his middle finger. The top of his head was as bald as a Capuchin’s, and shone like a disk of varnished box-wood. It was surrounded by a circlet of crisp, dark, curly hair. He had a solemn manner that proclaimed him to be a person of consequence. It turned out that he was president of a one-horse insurance company. Mr. Rimo appeared to be but slightly in advance of Arthur’s own age—a tiny strip of a body, wearing a resplendent cravat, a dotted waistcoat, pointed patent-leather gaiters, and finger-nails trimmed talon-shape—a thoroughbred New York dandy, of the least effeminate type.
Views: 311

My Uncle Florimond

My Uncle Florimond By Henry HarlandMy Uncle Florimond By Henry Harland
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The Phoenix of Florence

'Historical crime novel with soul, written with beauty and tenderness' Antonia Senior, The Times16th century Italy, deep in the Tuscan countryside, a long-held feud between two aristocratic families ends in tragedy, leaving only one young girl alive. Having barely escaped with her life, she vows to survive at all costs...Years later, amidst the winding streets and majestic facades of Florence, two murders are not all they seem. As Onorio Celavini, commander of the Medici police force, investigates, he is horrified to find a personal connection to the crimes, and a conspiracy lurking beyond. The secrets of his past threaten to spill out and Celavini is forced to revisit the traumatic memories hidden deep within him to lay the ghosts of history to rest.Poignant and compelling, The Phoenix of Florence is a richly told and cleverly crafted tale of a struggle for identity and a battle for justice in an Italy besieged by war.
Views: 238

My Friend Prospero

Henry Harland (1 March 1861 – 20 December 1905) was an American novelist and editor. He began writing under his own name and, in 1894, became the founding editor of The Yellow Book. The short story collections of this new period, A Latin Quarter Courtship (1889), Mademoiselle Miss (1893), Grey Roses (1895), and Comedies and Errors (1898), were praised by critics but had little general popularity. He finally achieved a wide readership with The Cardinal's Snuff-box (1900), which was followed by The Lady Paramount (1901) and My Friend Prospero (1903). His last novel, The Royal End (1909), was incomplete when he died. His wife finished it according to his notes. 
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