Happy Ending

Francesca Durante, Author Random House (NY) $17.95 (165p) ISBN 978-0-394-57548-3
Carefully crafted, this lighthearted comedy of manners by the Italian author of The House on Moon Lake revolves around a weekend in Tuscany. Spoiled Lavinia Santini has returned to the house where, many years earlier, she was briefly and unhappily married, then widowed. Nearby, on the same estate, live her dotty mother-in-law, the Santini matriarch; Lavinia's pessimistic brother-in-law, Leopoldo, who runs the family business; and his sexually repressed, American wife, Cynthia. Their comings and goings are observed with deep interest by neighbor Aldo, a cagey art dealer who made a substantial fortune ``upgrading paintings'' in his previous career as an art forger. When Marco, a friend of Lavinia's college-age son, shows up on her doorstep and asks to spend the night, he manages to become sexually involved with almost every member of the Santini household--revitalizing Leopoldo and Cynthia's flagging marriage, strengthening Aldo's long if unrequited love for Lavinia. Poking gentle fun at the Italian bourgeoisie, Duranti suggests that even the most miserable of individuals can find happiness given the right circumstances. (Feb.)
Reviewed on: 01/01/1991
Release date: 01/01/1991
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