The Writer

Though Renato, the Painter received a first prize for literary fiction, Gene Mirabelli also writes curious short stories of magical realism, fantasy, and science fiction. He was also nominated for a Nebula Award. A shameful pleasure, but there it is.

Eugene Mirabelli is the author of nine highly acclaimed novels— in addition to Renato After Alba and Renato, the Painter, his works include The Burning Air, The Way In, No Resting Place, The World at Noon, The Language Nobody Speaks, The Passion of Terri Heart, and The Goddess in Love with a Horse — five of which feature members of Renato’s extended family and his friends.

To purchase Renato After Alba or Renato, the Painter directly from the publisher, click here.
We'll provide you with a link to Amazon, but we do hope you won't get distracted there and wind up buying automobile tires or lipstick. Remember, it's Mirabelli you want. OK. Here goes. To purchase it from Amazon, click here. In either case, we think you'll enjoy the novel and we know the author will thank you from the bottom of his heart.

Gene Mirabelli lives in upstate New York and writes Critical Pages, a web site where he posts occasional pieces on society, popular culture, the arts and sciences, economics and political affairs. He's a Professor Emeritus at SUNY-Albany and was one of the founders and directors of Alternative Literary Programs in the Schools. His short stories have been translated into French, Russian, Chinese, Czech, Sicilian,Turkish, and Hebrew.

You can find an interview with Eugene Mirabelli discussing Renato, the Painter at National Public Radio's WAMC station.

About Renato, the Painter, Shelf Awareness says, "This sequel to earlier Mirabelli novels like The Passion of Teri Heart and The Goddess in Love with a Horse is a powerful, life-affirming story, a lusty, bawdy, hilarious romp through life as recounted by Renato in his old age."

The reviewer at Compulsion Reads says, "the book is exceptional, and I would strongly recommend it".

Photo of the writer by Lynn Finley.


Renato After Alba

We’re pleased to announce that Renato After Alba received a Bronze Medal given by the Independent Publisher Book Awards for excellence in Literary Fiction. This is the 20th year that “IPPYS” have been been given.In addition to the Independent Publisher Book Awards, Renato After Alba is also the Winner of the 2017 Independent Press Award for Books on Grief. Both the author and his publisher, McPherson & Co. are honored by the awards.

The distinguished Library Journal, has given Renato After Alba a starred review, raising it about other books under review. Hilary Daninhirsch, writing in Foreward Reviews says, The prose is sparkling, and Renato is a lively narrator. He yells, he cries, he swears, he grieves, and although his spirits have plummeted, he gets up every day, mingling with a colorful set of friends and family, trying to make sense of his new, unwanted reality. Despite Renato’s rage at his attaining the unhappy status of widower, the reader senses his feistiness and suspects that the book will, if not end happily, at least conclude with Renato’s somewhat triumphant re-emergence back into life, albeit on an uncharted path. For a book focusing on the effects of grief, it is unexpectedly uplifting, most likely because Renato is an utterly charming and empathetic protagonist.

Renato After Alba is the astonishing sequel to the prize-winning  book Renato, the Painter. Although it follows the earlier story, it is a stand-alone novel which can be read independently of the earlier work. Renato is an all too human, generous, loving (all too loving) flawed man, a painter with a first-rate talent and a second-rate career, “an artist who paints landscapes as if they were nudes, and nudes as if they were landscapes,” yes, that Renato, the family man whose wife, the beautiful Alba, has brought up not only their two children, but also the child he fathered out of wedlock, that same Renato who finally brought together his children, their mothers, his friends, his paintings, his everything, is now — ten years later — demolished by the unexpected death of his wife.  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.

You can read the first twenty-five pages of Renato After Alba by clicking on this sentence.

Robert Gray, writing in Shelf Awareness — an essential 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.”  — Robert Gray’s entire article about a reading MIrabelli gave at the launch of Renato After Alba is available at Shelf Awareness. It’s an interesting and enjoyable read. Give it a look..

“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.

We’re pleased to report positive reviews in the selective Publishers Weekly and Kirkus Reviews. Renato After Alba was featured in the New England Review. (And yes, you can read the excerpt by clicking on those highlighted words.)

“This novel reflects accurately and beautifully the thoughts and emotions that one experiences after the loss of a spouse.” —Gwen Romagnoli, author of Learning to be a Widow.

Joe Bruchac & Bruce McPherson & Gene Mirabelli. You can see an interview about Renato After Alba at


Praise for Eugene Mirabelli’s Earlier Fiction

The Language Nobody Speaks is “a small masterpiece of the kind that if this were France, everybody would be buying.”—Andrei Codrescu, National Public Radio

The Goddess in Love with a Horse is a magical novel. It tells a story of Sicilians who migrate from Italy to America but never lose their intimacy with ancient gods. Mirabelli’s characters are paragons of beauty and superhuman desire that might have stepped out of Ovid’s Metamorphoses.”—Robert Viscusi

"There are echoes of fable in The Goddess in Love with a Horse; reverberations of every romantic classic that ever gripped your heart. A slender volume that still manages to inspire epic thoughts. Sensuous. Delicious. A delight." -January Magazine online

"The Goddess in Love with a Horse marries the long reach of history to the present moment, the real to the surreal, the romantic to the workaday world—and does so with great grace throughout. Eugene Mirabelli crosses the Atlantic by sea and air and on a magic carpet woven out of language; his wit and passionate brio can transport us all.”—Nicholas Delbanco

“Eugene Mirabelli has plucked the unforgettable Terri Heart [The Passion of Terri Heart] from one of the most painful intersections of recent history, a time when a pure, brilliant love met the evil of a corrupting culture. Terri is a lovable tart and saint, rendered unforgettable by Mirabelli’s wonderful writing. This touching, deft, and suspenseful novel should take its place on that lovely shelf alongside Lolita.”—Andrei Codrescu, National Public Radio

“For those who long to discover new writers of quality, Mirabelli is well worth the effort.”—Philadelphia Inquirer

The Burning Air “tells more of love than 1,000 weightier novels.”—London Sunday Dispatch

The Burning Air is “a notable success.”—Saturday Review

“The discovery of world and self [in TheWay In]...Eugene Mirabelli translates into terms so fresh and primary that they seem uniquely his own...a virtuoso performance.”—The New York Times

"No Resting Place is the best book about a contemporary marriage I have ever read.”—Anne Bernays, National Public Radio - WBUR, Boston

The World at Noon is history, myth, and folklore. But above all else, it is art.” —Kenneth Scambray

copyright 2018