Wednesday, April 9, 2014

The Medici Boy by John L'Heureux


Renowned Literary Writer Renders Controversial Life of
Mysterious Renaissance Genius


“John L’Heureux has built a gripping story of love, genius and betrayal.”
--JM Coetzee, Nobel Prize for Literature, Booker Prize Winner

“Deeply enjoyable, The Medici Boy soars like an operatic aria, before breaking our hearts.”
--David Henry Hwang, playwright, M. Butterfly, Chinglish

“L’Heureux’s is certainly one of America’s greatest living writers. I’d put him in the top ten...And now he’s come out with his first new novel in ten years, The Medici Boy, and it’s a masterpiece, the most ambitious, beautiful, and complex novel I’ve read this year…”
--David Vann, Financial Times of London



Astor + Blue Editions is proud to release perhaps the most passionate work of master storyteller, John L’Heureux, in The Medici Boy [ISBN:  978-1-938231-50-6 (Hard Cover); ISBN: 978-1-938231-48-3 (E-book); US $25.95; Historical / Literary Fiction; 346 Pages, April, 2014].  Described as “one of America’s greatest living writers” by the Financial Times of London, L’Heureux returns with a long-awaited new historical fiction novel; the result of years of research—backed by a Guggenheim Grant—on location in Europe.

In this well-conceived, historically accurate rendering, the Renaissance worlds of art, politics and passion collide. With his distinct style and rich, sinewy narrative, L’Heureux ingeniously transports the reader to Donatello’s Renaissance Italy—directly into his bottega, (workshop), as witnessed through the eyes of Luca Mattei, a devoted assistant.

While creating his famous bronze of David and Goliath, Donatello’s passion for his enormously beautiful model and part time rent boy, Agnolo, ignites a dangerous jealousy that ultimately leads to murder. Luca, the complex and conflicted assistant, will sacrifice all to save Donatello, even his master’s friend—the great patron of art, Cosimo de’ Medici.

John L’Heureux’s long-awaited hardcover delivers both a monumental and intimate narrative of the creative genius, Donatello, at the height of his powers. With incisive detail, L’Heureux artfully renders the master sculptor’s forbidden homosexual passions, and the artistry that enthralled the leading—and competing—powerbrokers of Renaissance Florence: the Medici and Albizzi families. The finished work is a sumptuously detailed narrative that entertains while it delves deeply into both the sacred and the profane within one of the Italian Renaissance’s most consequential cities, fifteenth century Florence.

Barnes & Noble:  http://bit.ly/1kkIpLL
Astor+Blue:  http://bit.ly/1dIUz2I
Reader’s guide (great for book clubs):  http://astorandblue.com/bonus-stuff/






ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Award-winning poet, novelist, and short story writer, John L’Heureux has taught at Georgetown University, Tufts, Harvard, and (for more than 35 years) in the English Department of Stanford University where he was Lane Professor of Humanities.  There he received the Dean’s Award for Excellence in Teaching and earned it again in 1998.

A prolific writer, L’Heureux has written more than twenty books of fiction, short fiction and poetry.  His works have appeared in the Atlantic Monthly, Esquire, Harper’s, The New Yorker, and have been included in dozens of anthologies including Best American Stories and Prize Stories: the O. Henry Awards.

John L’Heureux has twice received writing fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts and in 2006 he was awarded a Guggenheim Grant to do research for The Medici Boy, his new novel.

He is retired and lives in Palo Alto with his wife Joan.





MEDIA CONTACT:

Ghia Truesdale
(617) 997-6554

Tony Viardo
(202) 258 - 8287



Advance Praise for

The Medici Boy


"On the basis of Donatello's great statue of David, and against the background of the witchhunt against gay men in 15th-century Florence, John L'Heureux has built a gripping story of love, genius, and betrayal."

-- JM Coetzee,
 Nobel Prize for Literature and two- time Booker Prize award winning author, Elizabeth Costello, Waiting for the Barbarians, Disgrace.


Financial Times of London Review, April 2014
“John L’Heureux is certainly one of America’s greatest living writers.  I’d put him in the top ten.  His oeuvre of almost twenty books (novels, short stories, and poems) has had a tremendous influence on several generations of American writers, including Tobias Wolff, Harriet Doerr, Ron Hansen, Lan Samantha Chang, David Henry Hwang, and dozens of others.  And now he’s come out with his first new novel in ten years, The Medici Boy, and it’s a masterpiece, the most ambitious, beautiful, and complex novel I’ve read this year…

“In The Medici Boy, you’ll certainly become caught up in sex and murder, betrayal and political upheaval, love and desire and the ferocious creation of the beautiful in sculpture, but you’ll also catch a glimpse of where it is that art and religion point to in us, our finer, quieter makings.” 

-- David Vann,
Financial Times of London Review


“A novel bursting with love -- collegial, artistic and erotic. John L'Heureux brings to life the bliss and treachery of the Italian Renaissance through prose as passionate as his characters. Deeply enjoyable, THE MEDICI BOY soars like an operatic aria, before breaking our hearts.”

-- David Henry Hwang
Playwright, M. Butterfly, Chinglish.

"Lust, envy, greed. Pride. Wrath. Set John L'Heureux loose in 15th-century Florence; give him Donatello, Cosimo de Medici, a royal flush of deadly sins, and a boy too handsome for his own good, and watch a master at work, and at play. There is no time and no place and no human transaction that L'Heureux can't plunder to assemble the kind of novel his fans expect, and his fans-to-be have never before encountered. Luminous, intelligent, funny, shocking, and, yes: revelatory.”

-- Kathryn Harrison
New York Times Bestselling Author, Enchantments, Envy, The Seal Wife

“Intensely appealing, viscerally gripping, and unfailingly human in its characters, L’Heureux’s most recent novel beckons with the undeniable promise of great writing to all lovers of historical literary fiction that easily manages to transcend its time parameters.”

-- Booklist
STARRED REVIEW


Critical Acclaim for

John L’Heureux

“A writer who picks up his readers by the scruff of the neck and won’t let go.”
--Chicago Tribune

“A deeply ambitious novelist, one who isn’t afraid of dealing with dark themes and what it means to be fully human, especially in the frightening and ecstatic world we create behind the darkened bedroom walls.”
--New York Times Book Review

“L’Heureux’s efforts to weave myth., extremity, and a religious note… [are] powerful and original.”
--Los Angeles Times Book Review


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