The Italian Lover by Robert Hellenga

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An exhilarating novel of romance, art, and food in Florence, featuring the beloved Margot Harrington, who graced Robert Hellenga's The Sixteen Pleasures. Margot Harrington's memoir about her discovery in Florence of a priceless masterwork of Renaissance erotica - and the misguided love affair it inspired - is now, 25 years later, being made into a movie. Margot, with the help of her lover, Woody, writes a script that she thinks will validate her life. Of course their script is not used, but never mind - happy endings are the best endings for movies, as Margot eventually comes to see. At the former convent in Florence where "The Sixteen Pleasures" - now called "The Italian Lover," - is being filmed, Margot enters into a drama she never imagined, where her ideas of home, love, art, and aging collide with the imperatives of commerce and the unknowability of other cultures and other people.

About Robert Hellenga

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Robert Hellenga teaches at Knox College in Galesburg, Illinois. He is the recipient of a National Endowment for the Arts fellowship, six Illinois Arts Council Artists Fellowships, an Illinois Arts Council Literacy Award, and a PEN Syndicated Fiction Award.
Published September 24, 2007 by Little, Brown and Company. 353 pages
Genres: Education & Reference, Literature & Fiction. Fiction

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Leading lady Miranda, who plays 29-year-old Margot, is disappointed that her screen lover Zanni prefers an older woman, and she sides with Margot in the clash of the dueling screenplays.

Sep 24 2007 | Read Full Review of The Italian Lover

Book Reporter

Cleverly written as a sequel, yet a fine stand-alone novel, THE ITALIAN LOVER covers the making of a movie about THE SIXTEEN PLEASURES, in which Robert Hellenga first introduced us to Margot Harrington.

Jan 22 2011 | Read Full Review of The Italian Lover


These themes are recurrent in The Italian Lover as Margot Harrington struggles with her philosophical views regarding home, love, art and the process of growing older as a woman.

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Nights and Weekends

The Italian Lover is such a unique novel—and it’s one of the most absorbing and satisfying books that I’ve ever read.

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