“A gem of a novel, evoking another time and place in a truly refreshing way. Gabriella Mautner’s descriptive skills make the Southern Italian people and landscapes come alive, like a musical sonata.”
- Tom Solinger, literary critic
“Gabriella Mautner is a local treasure—an internationally recognized novelist and memoirist who has distinguished herself with literary work of a rare and high caliber. I strongly recommend her for a Milley Award for her significant and enduring work.”
- Michael Krasny, KQED Radio, San Francisco
Positano, on Italy’s Amalfi Coast, is the setting for a complex tale that focuses on friendship, love, and the legacy of the past upon the present. The story is passionate, as well as poetic, humorous and rich in folklore. In 1952, thirty year old Miranda Arnold, recently divorced, returns to her native Italy with Johnny, her five year old son. After fourteen years of separation she is reunited with her friend Nina, who lives in Positano with James, her troubled English companion. Although the two young women remain traumatized by their pasts, they have an emotional anchor in one another. On one level, they rekindle their friendship, conversing intimately about what they endured in their fourteen years apart. On another level, as Miranda becomes part of Nina’s ever-changing and unsettled orbit, their relationship will be severely tested. The town’s main male protagonists are the mysterious doctor, Danilo Arieli, and the seaman Nicodemo, Danilo’s larger-than-life friend. Within the sensuous embrace of Positano, the characters are intertwined in ways both tender and dramatic, as memories about their tragic war experiences continue to implode. The collage of secondary characters adds piquant and humorous moments. A wholeness emerges from all the fragments: love rising above guilt or obsession, life in the face of death, the ability to stand alone and also to love fully. The story concludes with many surprising revelations.
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