Growing up in Venice in the 1930's, Niles O'Hara, the son of an expatriate writer, befriends a Venetian boy, Giangiacomo Gallieni. After the war, Niles and his family return, and he becomes involved in a kind of semi-affair with his childhood friend, who is now an adolescent with a wartime history of sexual trespass. Searching, comic, romantic, ...
Growing up in Venice in the 1930's, Niles O'Hara, the son of an expatriate writer, befriends a Venetian boy, Giangiacomo Gallieni. After the war, Niles and his family return, and he becomes involved in a kind of semi-affair with his childhood friend, who is now an adolescent with a wartime history of sexual trespass. Searching, comic, romantic, and ironic, Profane Friendship is a remarkable study of a strange, provocative, powerful relationship conducted in the matchlessly human-scaled, triumphantly beautiful setting of the world's most alluring city.
New in fine dust jacket. SHIP DAILY from NJ; GIFT-ABLE as NEW FIRST, fresh, NEW w/DJ NEAR NEW (subtle back cover shelf rub) AS SHOWN THIS COVER. Sewn binding. Cloth over boards. With dust jacket. 387 p. Audience: General/trade. 9295 9295--Bound in the publisher's original quarter black cloth and cream boards with the spine stamped in gilt. In Profane Friendship, Harold Brodkey tells an odd and strangely beautiful Venetian love story, sounding its depths with the suppleness and virtuosity of style that in recent years have won him worldwide admiration as a uniquely gifted American writer. Growing up in Venice in the 1930s, Niles O'Hara, the son of an expatriate American novelist, loves a Venetian boy named Giangiacomo Gallieni, fondly known as Onni. After the Second World War, Niles and his mother return to Venice, and he becomes involved in a complex on-again, off-again affair with his childhood friend, now an adolescent with a wartime history of sexual trespass. Profane Friendship is a remarkable depiction of an intense and enduring relationship conducted in the triumphantly alluring setting of the world's most beautiful city. Searching, comic, romantic, and ironic. Harold Brodkey's novel is at once the most sumptuous modern evocation of Venice and a truly singular exploration of human emotion and passion.
Publishers Weekly, 1994-01-17 Brodkey, who struggled so publicly for so long with his mammoth The Runaway Soul , seems to have broken his block, writing this full-length novel apparently in a matter of months--and to a commission, yet, from the city of Venice, where it is set. As in The Runaway Soul , there is misguided gigantism at work here. What could have been a touching, atmospheric novella about two boys growing up together in Venice has become a monstrously swollen, infinitely repetitious account of a partly homosexual relationship between youths who act and talk infinitely beyond their ages. Niles (Nino) O'Hara, the son of a successful American writer, meets Onni, scion of a rising Italian Fascist, at the English school in Venice before WW II. He goes back to America at the outbreak of war, picks up again with Onni in 1946 when they are, respectively, about 13 and 15--and Onni has become something of a male whore as well as a bit player in movies. They taunt each other interminably, verbally and sexually, drinking, smoking and taking drugs all the while; they fight, make up and occasionally try girls they pick up in the streets. In the book's closing pages Niles returns yet again, to find Onni a famous, world-weary movie star, still challenging him. Venice in its darker moods is often strikingly caught, and its pre- and postwar atmosphere is skillfully conveyed. But Brodkey's logorrhea is painful to read, endlessly, strenuously yet tentatively straining for effect; never has a severe editor been more needed. There is a considerable talent here, certainly, but buried in self-indulgence. (Mar.)
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