Catalogue


The conversion /
Joseph Olshan.
edition
1st ed.
imprint
New York : St. Martin's Press, 2008.
description
278 p.
ISBN
0312373910, 9780312373917
format(s)
Book
Holdings
More Details
imprint
New York : St. Martin's Press, 2008.
isbn
0312373910
9780312373917
catalogue key
6398426
A Look Inside
Awards
This item was nominated for the following awards:
Stonewall Book Awards, USA, 2009 : Nominated
Full Text Reviews
Appeared in Library Journal on 2008-04-01:
Author and translator Russell Todaro's life as an American expat in Paris is shaken by the sudden death of his lover, Ed, a successful poet. Ed's unpublished memoir manuscript remains with Russell as he leaves Paris, much to the chagrin of Ed's publishers. In a historic villa in Tuscany, Russell tries to keep a low profile while a guest of Italian author Marina Vezzoli and her reclusive husband. Liaisons with a local police officer and the reappearance of Michel, a married lover from Paris, complicate the tale. Russell's writing career, barely mobile in any case, has completely stalled. Can he work through the petty intrigue and manipulation that surround him and create a career of his own? Compelling settings and detail help to balance the considerable weight of the self-absorbed characters. With his eighth novel, Olshan (Clara's Heart) should find an appreciative audience among Italianites and other fans of European-set fiction. Recommended for larger fiction collections, particularly for gay literature collections.--Jenn B. Stidham, Houston Community Coll. Northeast, Houston (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Appeared in Publishers Weekly on 2008-02-11:
Olshan's crisp, satisfying new novel follows American translator and author Russell Todaro, a Jewish gay man who becomes embroiled in the death and ensuing scandal of a former lover. While in France with Ed, a well-known Parisian poet, they are attacked in their hotel room by two armed men. The men mysteriously flee when Ed confronts them; then Ed dies of a heart attack the following morning. Marina, an aging literary acquaintance of Ed's, provides a haven for Russell at Villa Guidi, her picturesque and history-laden Tuscan villa. Marina frets that the men who assaulted Russell in Paris may have been looking for her reclusive husband, Stefano, a controversial, outspoken media writer. Meanwhile, Annie, the executrix of Ed's literary estate, demands to know the whereabouts of the autobiographical manuscript he'd spent the last 10 years penning. Russell denies he has it, though escalating momentum and melodrama converge in the novel's denouement when Ed's writings re-emerge and the lines of truth become blurred. Set against a plush and evocatively described European backdrop, Olshan has produced a compelling story of forbidden desire, deception, religion and love's intoxicating allure. (Apr.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
Reviews
Review Quotes
"Beautiful, bittersweet...This fervent story of love and loss, of the perils and pleasures of intimacy, is depicted with a sure, light touch and with universal resonance and appeal."New York Times Book ReviewonNightswimmer "Olshan writes prose that sings."Los AngelesTimes Book ReviewonA Warmer Season "A beautifully written story of love, betrayal and loss.People MagazineonNightswimmer "...a finely written and compassionate book. Its quality is immediately apparent....a novel characterized by poetic instinct rather than documentary panache."The Sunday Times(London) onThe Waterline "Authentically moving." NewsweekonA Warmer Season "Extraordinarily mature....Here is a writer in total command of his narrative." -- Ian McEwan onClara's Heart "Olshan's novels are novels of great obsessions, of transcendent moments of perfect love set against a backdrop of hovering betrayal and death." --The Guardian (London)onVanitas
"Beautiful, bittersweet...This fervent story of love and loss, of the perils and pleasures of intimacy, is depicted with a sure, light touch and with universal resonance and appeal." New York Times Book Review on Nightswimmer "Olshan writes prose that sings." Los Angeles Times Book Review on A Warmer Season "A beautifully written story of love, betrayal and loss. People Magazine on Nightswimmer "...a finely written and compassionate book. Its quality is immediately apparent....a novel characterized by poetic instinct rather than documentary panache." The Sunday Times (London) on The Waterline "Authentically moving." Newsweek on A Warmer Season "Extraordinarily mature....Here is a writer in total command of his narrative." -- Ian McEwan on Clara's Heart "Olshan's novels are novels of great obsessions, of transcendent moments of perfect love set against a backdrop of hovering betrayal and death." -- The Guardian (London) on Vanitas
This item was reviewed in:
Publishers Weekly, February 2008
Library Journal, April 2008
Washington Post, August 2008
To find out how to look for other reviews, please see our guides to finding book reviews in the Sciences or Social Sciences and Humanities.
Summaries
Main Description
Russell Todaro, a young American translator, moves to Paris to take stock of his life and goals only to further lose himself in the surprising twists fate has in store for him. One night, two men waving guns and knives break and enter their Paris hotel room, terrorizing Russell and his much older companion, a famous American poet named Edward Cannon. The intruders, not finding what they seemingly expected, leave without further incident but the baffling, traumatic events overwhelm Cannon who dies in his sleep later that night. Now Russell is left to ponder the meaning of the attack, what to do with the poet's unfinished, problematic memoir and, perhaps most importantly, how to reconstruct and move forward with his own life. Hearing of the disturbing circumstances of Cannon's death, an Italian writer, Marina Vezzoli, invites Russell to recuperate at her villa in Tuscany. But what at first seems like a generous invitation slowly reveals itself to be a calculated offer. As Russell's stay in Italy lengthens, he begins to realize that the people in his life are using or manipulating him, most of all the poet's New York publishers who, against the dying man's wishes, are trying to acquire his unfinished manuscript. Looming over everything is the long and fascinating legacy of Villa Guidi, where during Word War II a Jewish family hid in the subterranean floors, later undergoing a conversion to Catholicism. In an echo of this dramatic history, Russell is forced to undergo a conversion of his own in order to find redemption and meaning in his life.
Main Description
Russell Todaro, a young American translator, moves to Paris to take stock of his life and goals only to further lose himself in the surprising twists fate has in store for him. One night, two men waving guns and knives break and enter their Paris hotel room, terrorizing Russell and his much older companion, a famous American poet named Edward Cannon. The intruders, not finding what they seemingly expected, leave without further incident but the baffling, traumatic events overwhelm Cannon whodies in his sleep later that night. Now Russell is left to ponder the meaning of the attack, what to do with the poet's unfinished, problematic memoir and, perhaps most importantly, how to reconstruct and move forward with his own life. Hearing of the disturbing circumstances of Cannon's death, an Italian writer, Marina Vezzoli, invites Russell to recuperate at her villa in Tuscany. But what at first seems like a generous invitation slowly reveals itself to be a calculated offer. As Russell's stay in Italy lengthens, he begins to realize that the people in his life are using or manipulating him, most of all the poet's New York publishers who, against the dying man's wishes, are trying to acquirehis unfinished manuscript. Looming over everything is the long and fascinating legacy of Villa Guidi, where during Word War II a Jewish family hid in the subterranean floors, later undergoing a conversion to Catholicism. In an echo of this dramatic history, Russell is forced to undergo a conversion of his own in order to find redemption and meaning in his life.
Main Description
Russell Todaro, a young American translator, moves to Paris to take stock of his life and goals only to further lose himself in the surprising twists fate has in store for him. One night, two men waving guns and knives break and enter their Paris hotel room, terrorizing Russell and his much older companion, a famous American poet named Edward Cannon. The intruders, not finding what they seemingly expected, leave without further incident but the baffling, traumatic events overwhelm Cannon whodies in his sleep later that night. Now Russell is left to ponder the meaning of the attack, what to do with the poet's unfinished, problematic memoir and, perhaps most importantly, how to reconstruct and move forward with his own life.Hearing of the disturbing circumstances of Cannon's death, an Italian writer, Marina Vezzoli, invites Russell to recuperate at her villa in Tuscany. But what at first seems like a generous invitation slowly reveals itself to be a calculated offer. As Russell's stay in Italy lengthens, he begins to realize that the people in his life are using or manipulating him, most of all the poet's New York publishers who, against the dying man's wishes, are trying to acquirehis unfinished manuscript. Looming over everything is the long and fascinating legacy of Villa Guidi, where during Word War II a Jewish family hid in the subterranean floors, later undergoing a conversion to Catholicism. In an echo of this dramatic history, Russell is forced to undergo a conversion of his own in order to find redemption and meaning in his life.]

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