During a long and productive literary career Eugene Mirabelli wrote three sequential novels about the poignant and comical misadventures of an artist, Renato Stillamare, which he has now revised and assembled into a single, multi-faceted novel, winner of the 2021 Silver Independent Publisher (IPPY) Award for Literary Fiction.
Renato! presents Renato Stillamare’s life story on an enlarged canvas, beginning some seventy years before his actual birth. The first part presents a captivating and often hilarious genealogy (beginning in 1860 in Sicily) of his forebears, including their subsequent immigration to America in 1903, and the occasion of his own “rebirth” in 1930. Part two, set in 2000, recounts his personal and professional tribulations, often comical, as an aging painter attempting to reclaim his reputation in Boston’s art world and to rescue his unconventional marriage. In the final part, set in 2013, the painter is confronted by the sudden loss of his beloved wife, Alba, and must decide whether life is still worth living. The result is a fictional tour-de-force, a life-affirming and enchanting portrait of the artist as an eternally young man.
In the words of Publishers Weekly, the life and times of Renato Stillamare have become “a blazing magnum opus.”
"Rivaling grand opera for passion and plot, Renato! is sure to delight readers who appreciate captivating storytelling."--Booklist, American Library Assn.
“Mirabelli has reinvented the peculiarly Italian, extravagantly melodramatic and often comic vision—the opera—in the novel form.… He is a master of montage, sudden narrative breaks, interwoven plots and themes.…This truly is a wise and comforting book, funny and sad, wonderfully intelligent…”—from the introduction by Douglas Glover
Renato! is “a bittersweet, beautiful story that…merits wide attention…[and] speaks wisely to life’s truths.”--Kirkus Reviews
“Age bends and fate twists this artist, but he carries on with his ‘perishable art and human love’—the defatigable artist as his own work of art.”—William Kennedy, author of The Albany Cycle
“For anyone who loves the work of James Salter or William Trevor, Eugene Mirabelli is another writer to treasure.”—Elizabeth Hand, author of Generation Loss
”Over the decades, and steadily, Eugene Mirabelli has been working on a major canvas—beginning with ‘The Goddess in Love with a Horse’ and coming to fruition in this work. An artist writing about artists is, always, a bit of a gamble, but it’s this reader’s opinion that our high-stakes gambler has hit the jackpot here. The real and the surreal blend together seamlessly; the love affair endures.”—Nicholas Delbanco, author of Why Writing Matters, and the novel It Is Enough
"An inherently absorbing and deftly crafted novel by an author with a genuine flair for originality and the kind of narrative-driven storytelling that is fundamental to a literary masterpiece, Renato! is especially and unreservedly recommended for personal reading lists, as well as community, college, and university library Contemporary Literary Fiction collections."--Midwest Book Review
Eugene Mirabelli was born in Arlington, Massachusetts, and began writing and publishing while in college. Six of his nine novels (including those forming Renato!) create a mosaic about an Italian American family that stretches from nineteenth-century Sicily to modern day Boston.
He has received numerous awards, including a Rockefeller grant, and his many short stories, journalistic pieces, reviews and essays appear widely in magazines and anthologies, and are translated into Czech, French, Hebrew, Polish, Russian, and Sicilian. Occasionally he writes brief pieces on the arts, sciences, politics, economics at CriticalPages.com, More about his books is found at genemirabelli.com
RENATO!. Kingston: McPherson & Co. 2020.
Renato After Alba. Kingston: McPherson & Co. 2016.
Renato, the Painter. Kingston: McPherson & Co., 2012.
The Goddess in Love with a Horse. Delmar: Spring Harbor Press, 2008.
The Queen of the Rain Was in Love with the Prince of the Sky. Delmar: Spring Harbor Press, 2008.
The Passion of Terri Heart. Delmar: Spring Harbor Press, 2004.
Right in the Oval Office. Script for a satirical puppet drama produced by the Firlefanz Puppets, Albany, NY, 2004.
Cheap Poems / Only 20c a Piece. Delmar: Spring Harbor Press, 2004.
The Language Nobody Speaks, translated into Turkish as Kimsenin Konusmadigi Dil. Istanbul: OkuyanUs Yayin, 2002.
The Language Nobody Speaks. Delmar: Spring Harbor Press, 1999. (Cloth and paperback simultaneous editions.)
The Book of the Milky Way. Delmar: Spring Harbor Press, 1996.
The World at Noon. Montreal: Guernica Editions, 1994.
No Resting Place. (Reissued in a paperbound edition) New York: Curtis Books, 1973.
No Resting Place. New York: Viking Press, 1972.
The Way In. London: Chatto & Windus, 1969.
The Way In. New York: Viking Press, 1968.
The Burning Air. London: Hutchinson Ltd., 1960
The Burning Air. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1959.
An interview by Paul Grondahl at the New York State Writers Institute, January 2021 https://youtu.be/rDyANWiERAY
Eugene Mirabelli feature Interview: Albany Times-Union
Eugene Mirabelli radio Interview : WAMC The Roundtable
Read Mirabelli's blog: Critical Pages
Find out more about Mirabelli's books: GeneMirabelli.com
Andrew Womack interview: The Morning News
2021 Silver IPPY for Literary Fiction
A RAVE REVIEW IN LITERARY FEATURES SYNDICATE!
"This multi-generational Italian-American saga is nothing short of spectacular!"
AND A RAVE REVIEW BY ROBERTA SILMAN
IN THE ARTS FUSE !
As I was reading Eugene Mirabelli’s wonderful novel Renato!, which is a terrific way to begin the new year and possibly a new era (“the Biden era,” I heard it called recently on TV), I was reminded of a quotation from Susan Sontag in her Paris Review interview (The Art of Fiction, Number 143): "A novel worth reading is an education of the heart. It enlarges your sense of human possibility, of what human nature is, of what happens in the world. It’s a creator of inwardness." How beautifully that describes this trilogy, which is made up of three earlier novels — The Goddess in Love with a Horse, Renato, the Painter, and After Alba — and which, I hope, will bring Mirabelli, who was born in 1931, the wide readership he deserves.