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April 23, 2019 | Rome, Italy

Philosophy Made Simple

By | 2018-03-21T18:28:11+02:00 January 1st, 2007|Recent Reviews|

By Robert Hellenga

Penguin, 2006. 301 pages.

This book is told from the point of view of the father of the young female narrator of Hellenga’s first novel, “The Sixteen Pleasures.” While the first takes place mostly in Florence, after the flooding of the Arno, this one is taking place simultaneously mostly in Texas on an avocado farm.

It’s always difficult to pin down a Hellenga book, given the detailed references to art, language, music, agriculture, and religion, which are found in all of them, but the celebration of life seems to be the overriding theme. A dreamlike scene of the aging main character floating down a river in the dark of night reflects the strangely ungrounded feeling that emanates from the story. For a truly satisfying experience, I suggest reading “The Sixteen Pleasures” followed by this one in quick succession.

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