This is Hellenga's fourth novel following The Sixteen Pleasures (1994),
The Fall of a Sparrow (1998), and Blues Lessons (2002). Set
in the late 1960s, Philosophy Made Simple shares many of the same
characters as The Sixteen Pleasures, but it is certainly not necessary to
have read the earlier book to enjoy the latter. Having said that, if you're interested to know what came before, below is a brief summary of The Sixteen Pleasures.
About The Sixteen Pleasures
Margot (one of Rudy's daughters) gave up her place at Harvard to care for her ailing mother. Now, at 29, this librarian and book conservator answers the call for volunteers to help Florence save its art treasures from the rapidly flooding Arno River (1966). While in Italy she discovers a fabulous volume of sixteen erotic drawings thought to have been destroyed by the Vatican and falls in love with a married Italian man.
About Robert Hellenga
Hellenga grew up in Michigan where his father was a commission merchant handling produce (much like Rudy in Philosophy Made Simple).
He has taught English literature at Knox College in Illinois since 1968 and was first published (after 39 rejections) in 1994.
This article was originally published in March 2006, and has been updated for the
March 2007 paperback release.
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