An exhilarating novel of romance, art, and food in Florence , featuring the beloved Margot Harrington, who graced Robert Hellenga's The Sixteen Pleasures. Margot Harrington's memoir about her discovery in Florence of a priceless masterwork of Renaissance erotica - and the misguided love affair it inspired - is now, 25 years later, being made into a movie. Margot, with the help of her lover, Woody, writes a script that she thinks will validate her life. Of course their script is not used, but never mind - happy endings are the best endings for movies, as Margot eventually comes to see. At the former convent in Florence where "The Sixteen Pleasures" - now called "The Italian Lover," - is being filmed, Margot enters into a drama she never imagined, where her ideas of home, love, art, and aging collide with the imperatives of commerce and the unknowability of other cultures and other people.
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"Hellenga's complex novel offers a vivid, often sophisticated view of modern Florence, but less so of its residents and visitors." - PW.
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Hellenga grew up in Three Oaks, Michigan, a typical Midwestern small town, but spent summers in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, where his father, a commission merchant with a seasonal business, handled produce that was shipped there from what was then the world's largest farmers market, in Benton Harbor, Michigan. The men who worked for his father were almost all Italians, and in retrospect he saw that this is how he got my first sense of Italy as something opposed to small-town Midwestern Protestant culture - a theme that has shaped a lot of his writing, including Philosophy Made Simple.
He has taught English literature at Knox College, in Galesburg, IL, since 1968. During his tenure at Knox he directed two programs for the Associated Colleges of the Midwest, one at the Newberry Library in ...
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