Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Leading Men based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
Leading Men by Christopher Castellani This a very dull attempt to make something of the relationship between Frank Merlo and his lover Tennesse Williams that lasted from 1947 to Merlo's death in 1963. The book opens in July of 1953 when Truman Capote throws a party in Portofino, Italy. There, the mother/daughter duo Bitte/Anja Blongren become part of the story. On the writer's note at the end of the book, the author states: "Ironically, it was only after the entirely fictional Anja entered the narrative that the plot began to take shape..." However, it does not. The plot is a mess. There are at least four timelines: 1953, 1963--Frank's death, 1983, and the present. Chapters run back and forth without any rhyme or reason. The narration is a somewhat third person point of view which leaves the reader without a voice to concentrate on. The plot is very boring-- it's as if nothing happens at all. The characters themselves are one dimensional--I never cared for any of them. Once again, I was swayed by the New York Times to buy a book. Once again, I was very disappointed with their recommendation. I strongly recommend you stay away from this book--for that matter stay away from anything the New York Times recommends!
Castellani's first three novels captivated me thoroughly but Leading Men took all my emotions and ratcheted them up a level. I can't stop thinking about this book. I fell in love with Frank Merlo and Anja Bloom, with Tennesee William's Italian jet-setting ways, with the backdrop of 1950s Italy, with all of it. The book is beautifully written, so much so that now that I have read it to feel wrapped up in the story, I intend to read it again for the craft of it. I want to understand how he turns those gorgeous phrases, how he uses POV to unwrap the most delicate parts of the story, how he colors the world so the reader feels like they are a part of it. Bravo, Christopher Castellani, bravo.