GIOVANNI'S GIFT by Bradford Morrow


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 An elegant unveiling of the dark secrets that often lie submerged beneath grim events, from the novelist whose earlier inclinations toward the gothic (Trinity Fields, 1995; The Almanac Branch, 1991) seem to have reached full flower. All childhood homes tend to become spooky after a long absence, and Ash Creek is no exception. Nestled high in the Rocky Mountains, it has an isolated and ethereal quality to it, and Henry and Edme Fulton, the elderly couple who now live there, move through it as through a kind of Arcadia--until they begin to receive strange threats from an unknown enemy. When Henry and Edme's nephew Grant hears of their plight, he returns, with decidedly mixed feelings, to the home he grew up in. Now 33, Grant has been living in Rome for many years, and the reasons behind his exile form as much of a mystery as the haunting of Ash Creek. Shortly after Grant's return, his uncle's friend Giovanni Trentaz is found murdered near the house, and in an old cigar box of Giovanni's Grant finds clues that suggest just how deep and painful the mystery surrounding the family may be. This ostensible collection of junk turns out to contain the secret not only to Giovanni's murder, but to the hidden lives of practically everyone at Ash Creek. As Grant begins to piece together the fragments of his past, he also falls in love with Giovanni's mysterious, beautiful, extremely disturbed daughter Helen--an obsession that leads inexorably to the violent climax of a complex and highly charged tale. Slick, suave, and substantial: Morrow works the classical narrative of Pandora's box into a readable and intriguing thriller with much wit and a very sharp eye. (Author tour)

Pub Date: Feb. 1st, 1997
ISBN: 0-670-87292-X
Page count: 304pp
Publisher: Viking
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15th, 1996


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