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Buy for $31.50
"Blazing...casts a spell right from the start." (Dwight Garner, The New York Times)
"A timeless and heartbreaking love story." (Celeste Ng, author of Little Fires Everywhere)
"An extraordinary book." (Lauren Groff, author of Florida)
Illuminating one of the great love stories of the 20th century - Tennessee Williams and his longtime partner Frank Merlo - Leading Men is a glittering novel of desire and ambition, set against the glamorous literary circles of 1950s Italy.
In July of 1953, at a glittering party thrown by Truman Capote in Portofino, Italy, Tennessee Williams and his longtime lover, Frank Merlo, meet Anja Blomgren, a mysteriously taciturn young Swedish beauty and aspiring actress. Their encounter will go on to alter all of their lives.
Ten years later, Frank revisits the tempestuous events of that fateful summer from his deathbed in Manhattan, where he waits anxiously for Tennessee to visit him one final time. Anja, now legendary film icon Anja Bloom, lives as a recluse in the present-day US, until a young man connected to the events of 1953 lures her reluctantly back into the spotlight after he discovers she possesses the only surviving copy of Williams's final play.
What keeps two people together and what breaks them apart? Can we save someone else if we can't save ourselves? Like The Master and The Hours, Leading Men seamlessly weaves fact and fiction to navigate the tensions between public figures and their private lives. In an ultimately heartbreaking story about the burdens of fame and the complex negotiations of life in the shadows of greatness, Castellani creates an unforgettable leading lady in Anja Bloom and reveals the hidden machinery of one of the great literary love stories of the 20th-century.
“Vividly reimagines the relationship between Williams and Frank Merlo, and offers intricate thoughts about the nature of fidelity, the artistic impulse, and estrangement.... [Castellani’s] scenes glitter.... This book is a kind of poem in praise of pleasure. Its author knows a great deal about life; better, he knows how to express what he knows. But this is an alert, serious, sweeping novel. To hold it in your hands is like holding, to crib a line from Castellani, a front-row opera ticket.” (The New York Times)
"A seductive, steamy novel of Tennessee Williams and his lover.... Castellani's quiet portrayal of Merlo has a deep, aching appeal.... [His] prose has a beguiling lilt and color, whether he's evoking his characters' evasive or erratic emotions, or conjuring the far-flung locales where these globe-hoppers touch down." (The Boston Globe)
"Real and imagined lives collide as Tennessee Williams and his longtime lover Frank Merlo befriend a young Swedish woman named Anja on the glittering Italian Riviera in July 1953. Though entirely fictional, the enigmatic Anja, who goes on to reluctant fame and fortune as an actress, propels this story of desire, ambition, and heartbreak." (People)
What listeners say about Leading MenAverage Customer Ratings
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- Helene Atwan
Wonderful book, masterful reading!
This novel would shine in any format, a beautifully written and elegantly constructed historical fiction with memorable characters both real and imagined. But in Edoardo Ballerini's reading, it really comes to life. Ballerini just won another Audie award last night.... richly deserved. His voicing of Tennessee Williams, Truman Capote, and all of the remarkable men and women in that literary circle is expert and fluent. Read the book in any format, but if you love audiobooks, you'll especially value this one.
1 person found this helpful
I want a refund.
Badly written and badly read. Overly dramatic in delivery. Shallow observation of the human condition.
1 person found this helpful