Giovanni's Gift

Bradford Morrow, Author Viking Books $22.95 (336p) ISBN 978-0-670-87292-3
In the memorable Trinity Fields, Morrow evoked wild Western landscapes magnificently, in all their glorious weathers and shifting lights. He does so again in this tale of an elderly architect and his wife, living quietly in a remote mountain valley, whose lives are suddenly and violently disrupted by horrendous noises breaking the silent nights. Enter their nephew, narrator Grant, a young drifter who seems permanently in romantic heat, and who has just separated, in Rome, from his second wife. An anxious call brings him back to Ash Creek, the only steady home he has ever known, and he begins to try to seek out the source of the malevolent nocturnal disturbances. He also falls for beautiful Helen, whose father, Giovanni Trentas, a friend of Uncle Henry and Aunt Edme, met a violent end in the valley some years before. It soon becomes apparent that a beautiful cigar box in which Giovanni kept souvenirs and mysterious scraps of diary (and which gives this book its gorgeous cover) hides dark secrets about his death, a long-buried romance and Helen's real parentage. The reader is on to most of this before Grant apparently is, and the circuitous way in which he comes to his discoveries, coupled with his oddly shifty nature, considerably slackens what should have been a much tenser narrative. Somehow, the human drama never lives up to the epic quality of Morrow's prose, and the book, for all its beauties and some passages of fine romantic ardor, never quite comes to life. Author tour. (Feb.)
Reviewed on: 02/02/1997
Release date: 02/01/1997
Analog Audio Cassette - 4 pages - 978-1-57511-023-3
Paperback - 336 pages - 978-0-14-026293-3
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