The Stendhal Summer - Softcover
The Stendhal Summer - Softcover
In the summer of 1992, public relations writer Alison Miller takes her savings and flies from Chicago to Europe in search of information about Stendhal, the nineteenth-century French author of The Red and the Black and The Charterhouse of Parma. Traveling to the same cities, walking the same streets, and taking in the same vistas, Alison hopes to discover fresh material and gain an intimate perspective to write a new biography of Stendhal with whom she feels a deep affinity.
Alison, fifty-four and in a crumbling marriage, is on her own for the first time in decades. During her sojourns in Grenoble, Milan, Civitavecchia, Rome, and Paris, she does, indeed, bring to light new Stendhal work, but her far greater discoveries are about herself as she learns to love again and, most importantly, to accept love that is offered to her.
Jack Messenger, Readers Favorite: The central character in Laurie Levy's The Stendhal Summer,Alison Miller, carries a lot of baggage on her trip to Europe. She struggles to wrangle her luggage on and off trains, in and out of taxis and hotels, up and down stairs. Alison, 54, is a professional PR writer from Chicago. Her husband George has left her for his latest young conquest, their twins Abbie and Dan are concerned for her happiness, her mother worries Alison will be mugged or worse. Alison has taken the risk of blowing her life savings in pursuit of her great love, the French author Stendhal, whose biography she plans to write. Her travels take her from Grenoble to Milan, Civitavecchia, Rome and Paris. Along the way, she meets old friends, encounters new ones, and is reawakened to the possibilities of life and love.
There is much going on in The Stendhal Summer that is subtle and literary, yet also born of experience. The Stendhal Summer is concerned with what used to be called, highbrow, culture. It is refreshing for a reader to be treated as an adult with a mind capable of expanding its range of interests. Similarly, the range of Levy's allusions and references is wide, unconfined by what might be fashionable or contemporary. The Stendhal Summer takes the risk of not being comprehended, yet pays us the compliment of presuming we have lived a little. Laurie Levy' s writing contains many wise and deft touches. The Stendhal Summer is a delightfully accomplished and intelligent novel. Witty and refined, cerebral and sensual, it juggles its antinomies with flair and conviction, while its protagonist provides us with genuine companionship, baggage and all.
About the author
Laurie Levy is a Chicago author and journalist, whose grant in literature from the Illinois Arts Council helped enable her to travel to France and Italy to research Stendhals life. Born in Omaha and raised in Iowa and Arizona, she has contributed to major Chicago and national publications; published three books of nonfiction and a short story collection, The Inland Ladies; and edited two collections of fiction by Chicago authors. She has worked as a fashion editor, an international restaurant critic, a film critic, book reviewer, and travel writer and columnist, while publishing short stories in a wide variety of national literary magazines. Laurie is the mother of two and grandmother of three.