Paraclete Press (MA)


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Elizabeth Fane is on the cusp of 50, but instead of celebrating with her family, she is on a plane to Italy alone, leaving behind her husband, three adult sons, and the profound rift between them.


In Italy, Liz plans to prune olive trees at a convent, explore the city of Florence, and visit its ancient cathedrals. There she meets four women--five if you count the large painting of the Virgin Mary--with whom she converses regularly. While at first these conversations with the painting are ironic (and are always one-sided), eventually they turn to become another way for Liz to consider the rift between her and her family. Liz gradually reveals why she left home and sorts out what it will take for her to return. Renaissance is a story about a woman of a certain age -- a novel about the end of motherhood as Liz steps out of longstanding domestic roles to find her own place in the world.

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