EUGENE MIRABELLI, NOVELIST, AND JO PAGE, MEMOIRIST AND COLUMNIST,
NYS Writers Institute, March 28, 2017
Renato the Painter is the story of an elderly artist who lives his messy life with gusto, and who applies himself to art with great energy, defying the neglect of the public and the critics. Publishers Weekly said “In prose as lusty and vigorous as Renato himself, Mirabelli captures the feeling of coming to terms—ready or not— with old age.” In the bittersweet standalone follow-up, Renato After Alba, Renato tries to come to terms with the unexpected death of his wife.
Potter Street Books described Renato After Alba as “not merely lacerating, outrageous, heart-rending, and tragic, but also….touchingly comic, and miraculously beautiful in its astonishment.” A Kirkus review said “grief is an awful thing, and Mirabelli…. is touching and persuasive, [in this] affecting look at memory, loss, and love.”
Elizabeth Hand, author of Hard Light and Generation Loss, uses the occasion of Mirabelli’s latest novel to put his career in proper perspective: “For anyone who loves the work of James Salter or William Trevor, Eugene Mirabelli is another writer to treasure, and Renato After Alba is one of the best books I’ve read in ages.”
Mirabelli’s other novels include The World at Noon (1994), The Passion of Terri Heart (2004), and The Goddess in Love with a Horse (2008)—all concerning the Cavallù clan, of which Renato is a central figure.
Reading with Mirabelli is one of his former students, Jo Page, who is a columnist for theAlbany Times Union, a Lutheran pastor, and author of the memoir, Preaching in My Yes Dress: Confessions of a Reluctant Pastor (2016). Novelist Margot Livesey, author of The Flight of Gemma Hardy called the memoir a “remarkable story of her journey in and outside the church over nearly fifty years. The result is all the things you hope a good memoir will be: profound, witty, deeply serious, wonderfully original, and utterly absorbing.” Tom Perrotta, author of The Leftovers and Election described the book as “a thoughtful, wide-ranging, and unusually frank chronicle of her spiritual journey. Anyone interested in Christianity, the daily realities of pastoral work, or the challenges of living an ethical life will find this book illuminating and inspiring.”
Page has published fiction and nonfiction in Quarterly West, New Millennium Writings, The South Carolina Review, and other print and online journals. She was a finalist for the 2009 Hunger Mountain Creative Nonfiction prize and wrote the “Reckonings” column in Metroland magazine for many year.
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