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Beyond Choice and Secrecy
by Tristan Bellini
Beyond Choice and Secrecy seamlessly interweaves themes of love and loss, conflict and death through two radically diverse cultures: sexually-liberated 1960s Brooklyn and tradition-bound Naples, Italy in the same epoch. Tristan Bellini paints both worlds vividly with stunningly memorable characters and a sometimes dark satire that simultaneously jangles our funny bones and rubs raw our middle-class sensibilities.
Belliniís protagonist, Jude McGrath, a recent Brooklyn College graduate studying in Italy, meets delicious Bianca Bellini, daughter of a Neapolitan baron. Within weeks, they decide to marry. Bianca fears her fatherís disapproval and coaches freethinking Jude for his meeting with the traditionalist baron, recounting a history of larger-than-life Generoso Belliniís exploits. To Biancaís relief, the two men take to one another.
The marriage goes well for a year in Naples but flounders in Brooklyn. Homesick, Bianca returns to Naples periodically. In her absence, Jude becomes involved with Joy, a precocious and formidable teenager. The triangle proves improbably durable, surviving family tragedies and efforts to break it from without and within.
Belliniís treatment of it, by turns funny and touching, challenges our conventional paradigm of what relationships must and should be, questioning the limitations it imposes on how and whom we love and the painful choices it reserves for those who breach them.About the Author
Tristan Bellini, no relation to the Bellini family in his novel, grew up in Brooklyn, attended Brooklyn College and taught in New York City high schools. He has lived and traveled extensively in Italy and currently resides with his wife in Mexico.
(2013, paperback, 264 pages)