Eugene Mirabelli

Eugene (Gene) Mirabelli was born in 1931 and for close to sixty years he has written novels, short stories, journalism and reviews, and for more than half that time he also taught literature and writing at a university. His publications include nine novels, the most recent of which is Renato After Alba, issued by McPherson & Co. in 2016.

Eugene Mirabelli was born and grew up in Massachusetts in a Boston suburb. In his youth he attended public schools in Lexington and worked at a variety of jobs, mostly manual labor. In his second year at MIT he won the undergraduate writing prize and transferred to Harvard. He later earned an MA from Johns Hopkins, and a PhD from Harvard. Mirabelli and one of his university students, Michael Rutherford, founded Alternative Literary Programs in the Schools (ALPS), which grew to be one of the most successful arts programs in New York State.

Mirabelli’s Italian-American roots were nurtured in New England soil. One set of grandparents lived in an Italian neighborhood in Boston, the other grandparents lived in a large house Lexington, a few hundred feet from the Revolutionary War Battle Green, and that family had a villa in Palermo, Sicily. His mother, who died at 102, was a fund of family stories that reached from the late 19th century into the 21st. Eugene Mirabelli’s novels – the characters and their stories – are quintessentially American, with tales from his family’s immigrant experience forming the deep background.

This author’s literary production has been rich and varied. There is his non-fiction work, his reviews, interviews and opinion pieces, focusing primarily on politics, economics and science, and there is his short fiction -- those engaging science-fiction and fantasy tales which have been published here and in Europe. But his novel writing has always been his deepest and richest work.

Eugene Mirabelli’s last six novels, each one a stand-alone fiction, compose a mosaic which becomes visible only when all the pieces are together. The fourth of these works, The Goddess in Love with a Horse, is a series of cascading tales stretching from the 19th century in Sicily into the 20th century in Boston. It provides a genealogy of the extended Cavallù family, those men and women who were “known for being handsome, quick-witted and rash” and who fill the pages of Mirabelli’s other works. Mirabelli’s first novel was published in 1959, some five decades ago; his most recent works, Renato, the Painter, and Renato After Alba, are an extension and enlargement in style and narrative power of what has gone before, novels which mark the re-emergence of a major writer onto the literary scene.

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