Eugene Mirabelli's most recent novel is Renato After Alba, published in the fall of 2016. Ten years after the conclusion of Renato Stillamare’s defiant confessions in Renato, the Painter, his beloved wife of fifty years dies without warning, and the blow leaves him in pieces. When he resumes his narrative, this larger-than-life artist has been reduced to a gray existence of messy confusion — broken belief, crazy hope, desperate philosophy. A man of fragments but still an artist, he assembles a collage of scenes of life with and without Alba, recollections of his eccentric Sicilian-American family, encounters with well-meaning friends, daily attempts at resuming his former life, and metaphysical railings against any deity capable of destroying what it has created. In Renato After Alba, the deepest sorrow is not merely lacerating, outrageous, heart-rending, and tragic, but also, for someone so completely human as the enduring Renato, touchingly comic. And miraculously beautiful.
Robert Gray, writing in Shelf Awareness, the premier journal for critics and booksellers, had this to say:
"When I read Mirabelli's two novels back to back not long ago, I was struck by how intricately, and intimately, woven together they were, despite being in many ways quite different reads. Renato, the Painter's narrator is a 70-year-old scoundrel of an artist, still hungry for fame and not particularly averse to temptation. In the sequel, Renato is 12 years older and trying to reorient himself after the loss of his beloved wife, Alba, a striking presence in the first book and a stunning absence in the second. The borderline between these two novels is life and death."
“For anyone who loves the work of James Salter or William Trevor, Eugene Mirabelli is another writer to treasure, and Renato After Alba is one of the best books I’ve read in ages — a beautiful, profound and exhilarating novel about what sustains us in the face of inevitable loss.” — Elizabeth Hand, author of Hard Light and Generation Loss
“Deeply moving, Renato After Alba is a grief novel that is never depressing. Readers will discover not only solace for being human but also joy for being alive. Alba remains an extraordinary absent presence, fully realized. Another character, a young woman who has lost her husband to brain cancer, has tattooed on her arm the words, ‘If love could have saved you, you would have lived forever’ — words that could be the epigraph to this memorable novel.” — Jeffrey Berman, author of Writing Widowhood: The Landscapes of Bereavement
Renato, the Painter, was awarded the top prize in the coveted literary fiction category of the 2013 Independent Publishers Book Awards. Both these novels are available in bookstores and from the publisher's web site, and also at Amazon.
Renato Stillamare, the protagonist of Renato, the Painter, paints landscapes as if they were nudes, and nudes as if they were landscapes. One winter's night seventy years earlier in a suburb of Boston, he was found swaddled in a basket outside the front door of a large, resourceful, passionate, and somewhat rash Sicilian-American clan named Cavallù, which adopted him. He may be the best painter of his generation (he doesn't know anyone better), but his canvasses are no longer in demand, nor have they been for the twenty-five years since he last had a Newbury Street gallery show. After retiring from teaching at Copley College of Art, Renato has retreated to his studio, if retreat is the word, where he is furiously painting, painting, painting, determined to be rediscovered. Renato is a force of nature, a big-hearted, lusty, opinionated, and occasionally intemperate man of large appetites whose children (including a daughter by his accidental mistress) are all grown up and dispersed, whose best friend (whom he misses more than anyone) died years ago, whose occasional wife (the love of his life) lives in a condo on the opposite bank of the Charles, and whose life is about to become much more complicated when the goth-bedecked daughter of a former student crashes at his loft with her little boy. The uproarious story of Renato's 70th year, which he unabashedly recounts with amazement and verve, is about extraordinary things simply happening to an ordinary man caught up in living life to the fullest. A funny, touching, even magical novel, Renato, the Painter is a splendid addition to the shelf of such literary classics as The Ginger Man and The Horse's Mouth.
“This generous, sprawling, fleshy novel of a life lived among lovers, friends, olives, wine, bread, and prosciutto, is a fresco of Sicilian-American-New England life. It is also an American story that shows just how a first generation of immigrants branch from village craftsmen to engineers and artists. Renato, the grumbling bohemian painter, is the genial pater of an unusual famiglia, who is still propelled by immigrant optimism in the age of computers. He is a not-quite-successful painter or husband who loves both painting and sex with greedy bonhommie until, as an old man, he finds his imperfect life quite adequate in midst of a motley nouveau family.” — Andrei Codrescu, author of whatever gets you through the night: a story of sheherezade and the arabian entertainments.
“In this portrait of an artist full of lust and rage, Eugene Mirabelli once again marries the realistic and romantic modes. Renato, the Painter offers us the intimate workins of an aging man at the height of his powers who fears that they will ebb; he and his women and paintings are vividly rendered: fierce, fine.” — Nicholas Delbanco, author of Lastingness: The Art of Old Age.
“A lively comic romp through the early high promise of the painter Renato, and his late-life desperation over the art world's non-recognition of his work. Age bends and fate twists this artist, but he carroes on with his 'perishable art and human love'—the indefatigable artist as his own work of art.” — William Kennedy