Miklós Szentkuthy: Fejezet a szerelemről (Chapter on Love)

Latest on my website: Miklós Szentkuthy‘s Fejezet a szerelemről (Chapter on Love). Set in a small unnamed Italian town, probably towards the end of the Renaissance, this book is about love but not, I would think, love as you know it. The town’s most famous son, the Pope, whom we know only as Pius but whose biography does not conform with any of the real popes of that name, has died, possibly murdered. We follow his story, the stories of the mayor of the town, his newly appointed secretary, the Donna, a former mistress of the mayor and a powerful woman in the town, and Angelina, niece of the Pope and of his brother, a priest still living in the town. As this is Szentkuthy, it is wild, exuberant, highly colourful and thoroughly original. He can take pages to describe the bed and bedroom of the mayor’s mistress, a prostitute, and then have an imagined dialogue between the Pope and a bandit who has been hanged for his crimes before getting onto love described in a highly imaginative and highly colourful manner. It is a thoroughly enjoyable novel, even if it is one you may wish to read more than once to fully understand what is going on.

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