The HOLY GRAIL of authordom: Having your novel made into a movie. With his first novel, Clara’s Heart, Joseph Olshan attained that treasure with a film starring Whoopi Goldberg and an unknown child actor named Neil Patrick Harris. I’ve just completed Joseph’s latest novel (of eight), The Conversion, and Clara’s Heart is next on my reading and Neflix lists.
The Conversion’s narrator is Russell Todaro, a struggling American writer living in Paris with an accomplished world-renowned American poet, Ed. The early plot launched Russell on a path of self-discovery as he learns that those around him, who he’s trusted have at times deceived him to further their desires or agendas.
“Conversion” is a theme running throughout the book. Is the conversion religious, emotional, physical, natural maturity or all of these? I’m still not sure, but I like playing around with the ideas in my head. Perhaps that was Joseph’s purpose; regardless, I like a book that allows me to carry its ideas forward long after I’ve put it back on the shelf.
The story is written in a style that is elegant yet simple. Joseph provides just enough description to put the reader into the scene without being bogged down in the details.
The story is ulitmately about Russell’s flawed relationships with unavailable men and the complicated women who love them. He falls for a suave Frenchman and a hunky Italian policeman (who wouldn’t?) but spends most of the book trying to understand the award-winning author, Marina.
I loved the decriptions of Paris and Tuscany from the American point of view, but Joseph also captures the essence of America from the Italian Marina’s point of view. She says:
This trailer-park man kept up his end of the discussion [about Emily Dickinson] with great confidence and made a complete fool out of the professor. This, my dear friend, could never happen in Italy. And I never loved America more than I did at that very moment. It was perhaps one of the three or four high points of my entire life.
Click to read more about Joseph Olshan and contact him.
With Greetings From The Gayborhood, Donald F. Reuter adds to his prolific collection of fun and informative books about gay life.
Gayborhood provides a picturesque history of the rise of gay neighborhoods in America’s urban centers and their evolution into something else as gay men and lesbians slowly assimilate into mainstream society.
Buy Gayborhood: You’ll enjoy for both the articles AND the pictures! And if you have Facebook, you can reach Don via his Facebook page here.