In Casa Rossa
, Roman native Francesca Marciano tells a riveting tale of three generations of women whose separate acts of betrayal set the stage for later destruction. Renée, the grandmother, forsakes her artist husband and her life in rural Puglia at Casa Rossa, to live with a woman. Alba, her daughter, takes a lover and pushes her husband to suicide. Isabella and Alina, Alba's daughters, take extreme measures to keep each other out of their lives, leading to upheaval. Told through the voice of the youngest daughter, Alina, Casa Rossa
weaves the selling and closure of the family estate with the family's sordid and unforgettable history. Spanning the 20th century and providing entrée into the not-so-incompatible worlds of Italian cinema and political terrorism, Marciano, author of Rules of the Wild
, reveals an authenticity in the way this emotionally warped family comes to terms with its fragmented past. It's a fine, highly entertaining work, laced with lovely writing and emotionally resonant characters. --Emily Russin
From Publishers Weekly
In this passionate tale of three generations of one 20th-century Italian family, Marciano brings Southern Italy as boldy to life as she did Kenya in her first novel, the well-received Rules of the Wild (1998). As Alina Strada prepares to sell the family farmhouse in Puglia, she reflects on the tumultuous past, beginning with the purchase and restoration of the crumbling farmhouse before WWII by her grandfather, Lorenzo, a moderately successful portrait painter. When Lorenzo's Tunisian wife and model, Rene, runs off with a German woman, he takes revenge by painting a huge nude of Renee on the inner patio wall. After a brief nervous breakdown, he marries his nurse, Jeanne, who immediately has the white stone house, so typical of the region, painted red-hence the name Casa Rossa-and the nude mural covered up. Lorenzo's daughter, Alba, has two daughters, Alina and Isabella, by her dashing husband, Oliviero, who leaves a murky legacy after his early demise. As the girls mature and governments come and go in postwar Italy, Alina has a brush with drugs, while her less fortunate sister, Isabella, joins a group of terrorists. Alina works for a time with a Fellini-esque filmmaker before moving to New York, where she gets a job at an art gallery and falls in love with an American. Alina's perspective on 1980s New York nicely complements her American boyfriend's subsequent view of Italy. The intricate complications may challenge belief, but the author imperturbably weaves them together into a glamorous, romantic whole.
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc.