We are pleased to announce that Eugene Mirabelli’s most recent novel, Renato After Alba, was published at the close of 2016.
Ten years after the conclusion of Renato Stillamare’s defiant confessions in Renato, the Painter, Alba, his beloved wife of fifty years, dies without warning, and the blow leaves him in pieces. When he resumes his narrative, this larger-than-life artist has been reduced to a gray existence of messy confusion — broken belief, crazy hope, desperate philosophy. A man of fragments but still an artist, he assembles a collage of scenes of life with and without Alba, recollections of his eccentric Sicilian-American family, encounters with well-meaning friends, daily attempts at resuming his former life, and metaphysical railings against any deity capable of destroying what it has created. In Renato After Alba, the deepest sorrow is not merely lacerating, outrageous, heart-rending, and tragic, but also, for someone so completely human as the enduring Renato, touchingly comic. And miraculously beautiful in its astonishment.
The novel begins…
I went to the Daily Grind café and had a cup of coffee at the little table where we often sat, but Alba didn’t turn up, smiling and saying, “Ah, I thought I’d find you here.” Because she is dead—I know, I know. What I don’t know is where she went and why she hasn’t come back and is she someplace I can get to without dying, because though I wanted to die and told myself over and over to die, it became clear it wasn’t going to happen right away. I don’t understand why we’re born or why we love or why we bring children into the world if we and everyone we love are going to die.
Robert Gray, writing in Shelf Awareness — an essential journal for critics and booksellers — had this to say:
“When I read Mirabelli’s two novels back to back not long ago, I was struck by how intricately, and intimately, woven together they were, despite being in many ways quite different reads. Renato, the Painter‘s narrator is a 70-year-old scoundrel of an artist, still hungry for fame and not particularly averse to temptation. In the sequel, Renato is 12 years older and trying to reorient himself after the loss of his beloved wife, Alba, a striking presence in the first book and a stunning absence in the second. The borderline between these two novels is life and death.” — Robert Gray’s entire article about a reading MIrabelli gave at the launch of Renato After Alba is available at Shelf Awareness. It’s an interesting and enjoyable read. Give it a look..
“For anyone who loves the work of James Salter or William Trevor, Eugene Mirabelli is another writer to treasure, and Renato After Alba is one of the best books I’ve read in ages — a beautiful, profound and exhilarating novel about what sustains us in the face of inevitable loss.” — Elizabeth Hand, author of Hard Light and Generation Loss
“Deeply moving, Renato After Alba is a grief novel that is never depressing. Readers will discover not only solace for being human but also joy for being alive. Alba remains an extraordinary absent presence, fully realized. Another character, a young woman who has lost her husband to brain cancer, has tattooed on her arm the words, ‘If love could have saved you, you would have lived forever’ — words that could be the epigraph to this memorable novel.” — Jeffrey Berman, author of Writing Widowhood: The Landscapes of Bereavement.
Renato After Alba was featured in the New England Review. (And yes, you can read the excerpt by clicking on those highlighted words.) “This novel reflects accurately and beautifully the thoughts and emotions that one experiences after the loss of a spouse.” —Gwen Romagnoli, author of Learning to be a Widow.