Ten years after the conclusion of Renato Stillamare’s defiant confessions in Renato, the Painter, Alba, his beloved wife of fifty years dies without warning, and the blow leaves him in pieces. When he resumes his narrative, the 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 in its astonishment.
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