In her raw yet elegant third novel, McPhee tells the story of a prominent Italian poet, Dante Sabato, and his romantic entanglement with two sisters, both American actresses, in post-war Italy. The novel is narrated by Dante: charming, intellectual, sex-obsessed—and in love with the idea of his own suicide. Dante delays his death once again to revel in a love triangle with sharp-witted, wisecracking, and, above all, beguiling Gladys and Prudence Godfrey who have come to Rome from North Dakota via Hollywood to seek their fortunes in the flourishing Italian film industry.
This is Jenny McPhee at her finest. Whether she is sketching the war-bruised Italian psyche as it brushes up against the puffed-up American dream of heroism, fantastically detailing the styles and locales of the late 1940s, or creating a sexual situation with spark, smoke, and fire, she is masterful in her prose, and her storytelling mesmerizes on every page.
“A Man of No Moon tells the surprising and labyrinthine story of Dante Sabato, the erudite and fascinating narrator of this novel with many obsessions—American movies, sex, Italy, literature, and suicide. McPhee’s prose is full of mordant humor and uncommon intelligence.”
– Rene Steinke
“The combination of philosophy and perversion in A Man of No Moon is invigorating, as is its deep investigation of the link between beauty and mortality. This is a searching, gorgeously written, wonderfully dirty book.”
– Matthew Sharpe
“In an evocation of late-1940s Italy with a tale of wartime survival woven throughout…McPhee’s writing is truly powerful.”
– The New York Times Book Review
“A Man of No Moon’ is slender, rich with atmosphere, alive with lust and aphoristic barbs, and delightfully clever.”
– The Oregonian
“McPhee’s latest excels in noirish atmosphere…[she] draws entertainingly on the pulp of the period and has the postwar dynamic of occupier and occupied down.”
– Publishers Weekly
“McPhee’s novel is introspective, atmospheric…and achingly authentic.”