THE POPE'S DAUGHTER by Dario Fo

THE POPE'S DAUGHTER

by , translated by
Email this review

KIRKUS REVIEW

In his debut novel, Nobel-winning playwright Fo draws a portrait of Lucrezia Borgia, she of infamy.

Was Lucrezia "a monster, a poisoner, and a prostitute?" Or "a beauty [who] emanates...generosity, enthusiasm, passion, and willingness to make sacrifices for those she loves?" Lucrezia enthralls Fo, and he signals his enthusiasm with arch, knowing humor directed at the reader. Fo’s not alone, either; he discovers that "de Bayard, the legendary knight," said Lucrezia "was lovely and courteous and kind to one and all." Lucrezia had the good fortune, and misfortune, to be born to Rodrigo Borgia, House of Aragon. Young Rodrigo traveled to Rome, soldiered a bit, became a cardinal, met Vannozza Cattanei, and started a family in a time when "it was quite accepted for a man of the church to carry on openly reckless relations with women." Next Rodrigo "decided…to have himself elected to the highest ecclesiastic office," becoming Pope Alexander VI. With that, daughter Lucrezia becomes a pawn in a game played out through Italian city-states all the way to France. Best enjoyed by those familiar with the Italian Renaissance, Fo’s novel features Lucrezia as the character best drawn, captured in the mirror of her contemporaries’ perceptions. More than one descends into rapture over "the beauty that Lucrezia carries within her." It’s her brother Cesare who builds the Borgian reputation for treachery, "great cunning…a true condottiere," tainting Lucrezia in the process. In this deft translation, there’s a historical plethora of saints and sinners, arranged marriages and forced annulments, wars and murders, names like Ludovico the Moor and Giuliano della Rovere, and even bit parts for Copernicus and Machiavelli.

Entertaining historical revisionism, with Fo's Lucrezia more femme fatale than incestuous poisoner.

Pub Date: Aug. 4th, 2015
ISBN: 978-1-60945-274-2
Page count: 208pp
Publisher: Europa Editions
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1st, 2015




MORE BY ANTONY SHUGAAR

MysteryADAM'S RIB by Antonio Manzini
by Antonio Manzini
MysteryTHE BASTARDS OF PIZZOFALCONE by Maurizio de Giovanni
by Maurizio de Giovanni
FictionNOT ALL BASTARDS ARE FROM VIENNA by Andrea Molesini
by Andrea Molesini

SIMILAR BOOKS SUGGESTED BY OUR CRITICS:

FictionHYDE by Daniel Levine
by Daniel Levine
FictionTHE SUMMER QUEEN by Elizabeth Chadwick
by Elizabeth Chadwick
FictionJADE DRAGON MOUNTAIN by Elsa Hart
by Elsa Hart