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The Italian Summer: Golf, Food, and Family at Lake Como Hardcover – April 28, 2009
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From Publishers Weekly
In the summer of 2007, novelist and golf fanatic Merullo (Golfing with God; Revere Beach Elegy) set off with his family in search of the slower ways of life on the shores of Lake Como, Italy. Interspersing descriptions of various rounds of golf with trips to local restaurants and taverns, Merullo attempts to capture the sights, smells and sounds of the Italian and Swiss countryside. He recalls some of the characters that he and his family met that summer, such as Harold Lubberdink, real estate agent, who swept the family under his wing, leading them through various nooks and crannies of their temporary home country. Merullo takes readers on a harrowing journey through winding mountain roads in search of a perfect meal in a restaurant called La Baita. Finally, he tries to incorporate the slower pace of living into his own life, but finds it almost impossible. Part travel guide, part memoir, Merullo attempts to offer meditations on the richness of a life lived more slowly with good food and good company, but succeeds at little more than his frantic attempts to find a few good golf courses far away from home. (Apr.)
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Imagine a Venn diagram connecting all those who love Italy, wine, food, family outings, and golf. The epicenter of those overlapping circles is not going to be all that large, but for anyone who lands there, this travel memoir delivers unadulterated joy. Merullo, the prolific author of an improbably wide range of fiction and nonfiction, wanted to slow the pace of his frenetic life by spending a summer with his wife and two daughters in Italy, not scurrying about from city to city but relaxing on Lake Como and indulging his passions for food, golf, and things Italian. His account of those idyllic weeks recalls Calvin Trillin in its casual tone, good humor, affable interactions with family, and Everyman’s love of regional food and wine. But it’s hard to imagine Trillin drawing a 260-yard drive around a dogleg or even four-putting from 20 feet for a double bogey. And, yet, even non-golfing gourmands will recognize that Merullo describes fairways and greens with the same kind of low-key charm and wit as he rhapsodizes over prosciutto and Pinot Grigio. A special travel book for a special audience. --Bill Ott
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Unfortunately I don't think the book will be as enjoyable to the average reader as it was to me.