Leading Men by Christopher Castellani

, Leading Men by Christopher CastellaniLeading Men by Christopher Castellani

This book was ground breaking for me in many ways. The structure was brilliant, but more than that was the rendering of the relationships – so difficult to define with societal lexicon – which suffered because there was no acceptable construct. There was so much love and caring between Frank and Tennessee and between Frank and Anja, but because these relationships were outside the norm, they were terribly vulnerable and subject to uproar. Never before have I read and empathized with characters who faced such exclusion from what was mainstream with regard to legitimizing relationships. Living in the shadow of a great artist, Frank Merlo won my heart. I truly rooted for him and in the end wept for him.

Besides providing an incredible lens into undefinable relationships there was the extreme fun of being in post war Italy and gaining a glimpse into the private lives (and social lives) of people like Tennessee Williams and Truman Capote. The insertion of screen play and and the alternating time lines (something I really love) made this book different, ambitious, and hard to put down. I can’t wait to discuss it with other readers.

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