Hollywood is not noted for its refined and cultured sensibilities. However, Robert Hellenga’s recent book, The Italian Lover manages to fuse a commercial mentality with refinement.
His novel is the fictional memoir of Margot Harrington. Ms. Harrington discovered a Renaissance masterwork of erotica in Florence, Italy. The discovery of the masterwork inspires a very discordant love affair. Now, twenty five years later, the memoir is being made into a movie.
Margot and her present lover, Woody, have written the script for the movie. Margot hopes the movie will substantiate the events of her life. The script is not used. But, there is a happy ending to a not too happy life experience.
Novelist and academic, Robert Hellenga grew up in Benton Harbor, Michigan. His father was a commission merchant who employed many Italian workers. Hellenga became aware of the Italian culture vs. small-town American Midwestern Protestant culture. This is a theme that has shaped a lot of his writing. These themes are recurrent in The Italian Lover as Margot Harrington struggles with her philosophical views regarding home, love, art and the process of growing older as a woman.
The Italian Lover offers many points to ponder. If you enjoy a fine novel with more than the average amount of homage to art and culture, you will truly find this a great read.
REVIEWED BY SANDRA PIANIN
Thanks for visiting!