THE BLOOD OF GENNARO by V. T. Calnan

THE BLOOD OF GENNARO

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KIRKUS REVIEW

A big first novel that would have benefited greatly by some cutting and also by some rearrangement in emphasis. There is fair writing in many scenes, but it is constricted by a heavy overlay of religious message. The plot concerns a young American, Lambert Matheson, who comes to Naples ostensibly to write a paper on Pompeian frescoes, but actually to track down a man named Marco, who betrayed him and his comrades during the war. The nature of the betrayal is not revealed until much later, so that Lambert's inability to accept the miracle of the blood of Saint Gennaro either by faith or by science, and diverse other religious struggles, remain unclear. Meanwhile Lambert is also doing some writing and has met an Italian family whose sons are engaged in various shady activities. He has an affair with the daughter, Rosa. He meets two priests who lecture him separately, and also a partly-crippled painter. Most of these people beg him to leave revenge to God, but Lambert persists, until he discovers that the painter, with whom he has become friends, was once Marco. Marco hangs himself, and Lambert, apparently by way of reconciling himself with God, allows himself to be killed by a dope ring. Fairly unconvincing, except perhaps in the last scenes.

Pub Date: May 3rd, 1960
Publisher: Coward-McCann