The Story of My Purity

Francesco Pacifico, Author, Stephen Twilley, Translator
Francesco Pacifico, trans. from the Italian by Stephen Twilley. Farrar, Straus and Giroux, $26 (256p) ISBN 978-0-374-27044-5
Reviewed on: 01/07/2013
Release date: 03/05/2013
Ebook - 320 pages - 978-0-14-196462-1
Open Ebook - 304 pages - 978-1-4299-4599-8
Paperback - 293 pages - 978-0-374-53428-8
Hardcover - 320 pages - 978-0-241-14505-0
Hardcover - 304 pages - 978-0-14-139950-8
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In this strained comic novel, Pietro Rosini, out of shape and unhappily married, tries to emulate the pope and lead a life of purity. Employed as an editor at a Catholic publishing house, he toils on a nonfiction book, The Jewish Pope, about the late Pope John Paul II. There are temptations all around him, including his beautiful, virginal sister-in-law, Ada, and the free-spirited Lavinia. After getting himself fired, Pietro moves from Rome to Paris, sans wife, where he gets a job with another Catholic publisher. But even here Pietro finds temptation, now in the form of Clelia, a vibrant, young New York Jew. Keeping things platonic, he moves into the Pigalle apartment she lives in that is owned by her uncle. When The Jewish Pope is published, Pietro worries that it will affect his relationships with Clelia and her uncle. Ada’s unexpected arrival precipitates a final, farcical chain of events. The story would be funnier—and more entertaining—if Piero weren’t such a wet blanket and actually did something beyond pining and feeling guilty. A more notable aspect of the book is the way that Piero views every situation through the scrim of American pop culture. Agent: Anna Stein, Aitken Alexander Associates. (Mar.)
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