Friday, April 18, 2014

The Medici Boy by John L'Heureux

Barnes & Noble
Described as “one of America’s greatest living writers” by the Financial Times of London, L’Heureux returns with a long-awaited new historical fiction novel; the result of years of research—backed by a Guggenheim Grant—on location in Europe.
In this well-conceived, historically accurate rendering, the Renaissance worlds of art, politics and passion collide. With his distinct style and rich, sinewy narrative, L’Heureux ingeniously transports the reader to Donatello’s Renaissance Italy—directly into his bottega, (workshop), as witnessed through the eyes of Luca Mattei, a devoted assistant.
 While creating his famous bronze of David and Goliath, Donatello’s passion for his enormously beautiful model and part time rent boy, Agnolo, ignites a dangerous jealousy that ultimately leads to murder. Luca, the complex and conflicted assistant, will sacrifice all to save Donatello, even his master’s friend—the great patron of art, Cosimo de’ Medici.
John L’Heureux’s long-awaited hardcover delivers both a monumental and intimate narrative of the creative genius, Donatello, at the height of his powers. With incisive detail, L’Heureux artfully renders the master sculptor’s forbidden homosexual passions, and the artistry that enthralled the leading—and competing—powerbrokers of Renaissance Florence: the Medici and Albizzi families. The finished work is a sumptuously detailed narrative that entertains while it delves deeply into both the sacred and the profane within one of the Italian Renaissance’s most consequential cities, fifteenth century Florence.
L'Heuureux's novel brings readers inside the bottega and close to the genius of Donatello. Lucas makes a great narrator, able to see the flaws of others and himself. I appreciated Luca's story, but loved that his true devotion and life belonged to the great artist. The art seems to come to life, much like the characters themselves. I think art lovers and hf lovers will enjoy this book about life, love, art and beauty .
Award-winning poet, novelist, and short story writer, John L’Heureux has taught at Georgetown University, Tufts, Harvard, and (for more than 35 years) in the English Department of Stanford University where he was Lane Professor of Humanities.  There he received the Dean’s Award for Excellence in Teaching and earned it again in 1998.
A prolific writer, L’Heureux has written more than twenty books of fiction, short fiction and poetry..  His works have appeared in the Atlantic Monthly, Esquire, Harper’s, The New Yorker, and have been included in dozens of anthologies including Best American Stories and Prize Stories: the O. Henry Awards.
John L’Heureux has twice received writing fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts and in 2006 he was awarded a Guggenheim Grant to do research for The Medici Boy, his new novel.
He is retired and lives in Palo Alto with his wife

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