First Fiction Friday: Bernini’s Elephant

Reading a book set in Italy is just as good as being in Italy, right? Our top pick this weekend is Jane Callen’s debut novel Bernini’s Elephant (Guernica Editions), a literary murder mystery about love, art, and deception that ponders whether we can ever truly escape our past choices. 


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The book: Bernini’s ElephantThe author: Jane Callen’s short fiction has appeared in print and online magazines. An Italophile, Italy and her people feature in Jane’s writings. Bernini’s Elephant is her debut novel. A member of The Writers Union of Canada, Federation of BC Writers and Association of Italian Canadian Writers, Jane resides in Vancouver, BC.Why you need to read it: Albert Einstein noted that energy cannot be created or destroyed, only changed from one form to another. In Pompeii, volcanic ash remains in the shape of a woman—bear witness to her futile escape from the rage of Mount Vesuvius.Kat, a woman with blood on her hands, contemplates the ancient woman’s destiny and her own.To escape the consequences of past choices, Kat links up with Franco, a street artist painting in the Roman twilight near Bernini’s sculpture of an elephant. Becoming Franco’s patron is the easy part. Kat learns that Einstein’s theory holds in everyday life. She cannot escape past decisions. Murder undetected remains murder after all.A literary mystery spanning two continents, Bernini’s Elephant is a sensual, richly detailed glimpse of Italian architecture, art, family secrets and above all: the struggles of love.Bernini’s Elephant is like the chilling nightmare of deception and violence in Cara Massimina by Tim Parks stumbling into the dreamy search for love in Under the Tuscan Sun by Frances Mayes. 

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Bernini’s Elephant is available here on All Lit Up or use our Shop Local feature to find a copy at your local indie bookstore.