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.
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.”
“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
“A major canvas…The real and the surreal blend together seamlessly; the love affair endures.”—Nicholas Delbanco, author of Why Writing Matters
“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
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