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A LITTLE LOVE STORY

Publisher Shaye Areheart Books, August 2005

In A Little Love Story, Roland Merullo—winner of the Massachusetts Book Award and the Maria Thomas Fiction Award—has created a sometimes poignant, sometimes hilarious tale of attraction and loyalty, jealousy and grief. It is a classic love story—with some modern twists.

Janet Rossi is very smart and unusually attractive, an aide to the governor of Massachusetts, but she suffers from an illness that makes her, as she puts it, “not exactly a good long-term investment.” Jake Entwhistle is a few years older, a carpenter and portrait painter, smart and good-looking too, but with a shadow over his romantic history. After meeting by accident—literally—when Janet backs into Jake’s antique truck, they begin a love affair marked by courage, humor, a deep and erotic intimacy… and modern complications.

Working with the basic architecture of the love story genre, Merullo—a former carpenter known for his novels about family life—breaks new ground with a fresh look at modern romance, taking liberties with the classic design, adding original lines of friendship, spirituality, and laughter, and, of course, probing the mystery of love.

***

“Writing with serene passion and gentle humor, Merullo powerfully reveals both the resiliency and fragility of life and love… This is not a little love story. It is, quite utterly, grand.”
– Booklist

“ Merullo has a graceful way with dialogue, allowing his characters' wit—sometimes caustic, sometimes sweet—to unfold naturally. For all its sadness, his narrative is never maudlin; for all its familiarity, it's never trite. No tears are jerked in the delivery of this solidly satisfying little romance, whose author is something of a Houdini in the art of escaping banality.”
– Washington Post’s Book World

IN REVERE IN THOSE DAYS

Publisher Shaye Areheart Books, October 2003

Born in Revere, Massachusetts in the 1950s, Anthony, or “Tonio,” as he is known to his family and friends, is a member of one of the many tightly-knit Italian-American immigrant families on the block struggling to get by. His father works in a factory making airplane parts and his mother is a former nurse who wants Tonio to have a better life than Revere can provide. At age eleven, it seems as though Tonio, a good student and a good Catholic boy, may be able to realize his parents’ hopes for him. But Tonio’s life takes an abrupt turn when his parents are tragically killed in an airplane crash. Sustained and borne up by the unwavering love and devotion of his paternal grandparents, his Uncle Peter, and the rest of his large family, Tonio slowly but surely discovers a way out of sorrow and, ultimately, a way out of Revere.

In Revere, In Those Days is a heartfelt story of deep and abiding family love, of personal loss, and of individual redemption. The passage of time and Tonio’s geographical distance from Revere lends an objectivity to his narrative, but his love for his family and his unapologetic pride in their traditional first-generation Italian-American values shines through each word. And yet, it is this very way of life that Tonio must leave behind in order to find happiness. Tonio’s life will be forever changed by the early loss of his parents, but his story is tinged with an even greater sense of a lost way of life: the sacrifice Americans make to achieve the American dream.

***

“A poignant look at a life with roots… Merullo has created characters that seem almost too real to be imagined… The telling of their stories is as fresh and real as people from your own childhood.”
– The Philadelphia Inquirer

“What makes In Revere, In Those Days stand out from most other contemporary novels is its graceful prose, its deep and decent characters, and its quiet insistence upon the fundamental dignity of humanity.”
– Seattle Times

“[This] novel is so true that it has the authenticity of a memoir. It will, I think, be compared—and favorably—to A Separate Peace… I can't remember the last time I was moved to tears by a novel in the way that I was, at several junctures, with In Revere, In Those Days. It is an extraordinary achievement.”
– Anita Shreve

“Beautiful and shapely… The rhythm of the chapters beguile…The sacrament of Italian American family lives in the heart of the words, displayed with perfect clarity and utter humanity… A pleasure to read, and to read again.”
– Booklist (starred review)

“Emotionally complex, politically intelligent, beautifully written: Among the best from a novelist in the classic American tradition.”
– Kirkus (starred review)

REVERE BEACH ELEGY

Publisher Beacon Press, December 2002

In Revere Beach Elegy, Roland Merullo returns to his childhood heaven of Revere, Massachusetts, to begin an intricate, impressionistic portrait of his rich and complex life. The tough codes of Revere's working-class streets mix with the warmth and affirmation of family—forty cousins, grandparents, aunts, and uncles—to form a background against which Merullo's later wanderings are always set.

***

“Sentimentality is cheap. Real emotion is difficult to render. Memoirists walk a tightrope between sentimentality and simple feeling. What gives Revere Beach Elegy its vitality and ‘worth’ is the author’s taut prose and his fearlessness to run across that tightrope.”
– Greg Lalas, Boston Magazine

“I’ve never met Roland Merullo, or even read anything he’s written before now. Yet today I feel as if I've known him my whole life… At the close of Elegy, the reader is comfortably walking alongside a man who has grown into himself, accepted and embraced his past.”
– Ray Suarez, The Washington Post

PASSION FOR GOLF

Publisher Lyons Press, November 2000

Most avid golfers believe that there is a profound connection between the joys and challenges of golf and the joys and challenges of living—that the more devoted we are to the game, the more we learn about ourselves. In Passion for Golf, Roland Merullo looks carefully at those connections and at the reasons why people find themselves irresistibly attracted to golf. Drawing on the triumphs and travails of playing partners, friends, and family members, and mixing in anecdotes from his own adventures on and off the course, Merullo explores the notion of a 'true goal of golf,' a hidden attraction that, ultimately, has more to do with deep peace and satisfaction than with the dream of playing on the PGA tour. He finds connections between fairway lessons and the mystical wisdom of Lao Tzu, Theresa of Avila, Thoreau, Jesus, Buddha, and Walt Whitman, among many others, and looks into the role of ego, anger, and silence in golf and life.

More than anything else, Passion for Golf is a celebration of the game, an examination of the roots of our passion for it, and a meditation on the lessons every golfer carries away from the course and into his or her life.

***

“For ‘average hackers’ who struggle weekly to lower their scores, this slender, accessible guide offers insight into the emotional stumbling blocks that get in the way of improvement and, most importantly, enjoyment of the game. Merullo is not a professional golfer. He is a fiction writer whose books have explored the legacy of family relationships and the juxtaposition of personal and national drama. In his first nonfiction title, he continues his theme of relationships, using the lessons of golf that reach beyond the swing plane into our personal life. Readers who enjoyed Michael Murphy's Zen of golf classic, Golf in the Kingdom, should have room for this slender, spiritual journey in their Christmas stocking.”
– Publishers Weekly

“A golfer for all seasons... Merullo provides more than enough food for thought for even the most contemplative golfer.”
– Washington Post Book World

REVERE BEACH BOULEVARD

Publisher Owl Publishing Company, September 2000

A novel both literary and suspenseful, Revere Beach Boulevard tells the story of a family that rallies around an errant son, even as a long-hidden secret that has touched all their lives comes to the surface. Peter Imbesalacqua has bent the rules and battled a gambling addiction for most of his adult life. Now, his real-estate business in shambles and his life in danger because of an unpaid debt, he spins at the center of a hurricane of love and risk. His parents, sister, and friends, all carrying their own secrets, find themselves drawn into the terrifying storm, each trying to do for Peter what he must ultimately do—or fail to do—for himself. Revere Beach Boulevard is a rich and heartfelt novel that looks deeply into the secret places in men's and women's hearts, places only great fiction can reveal.

***

“I won’t mince words about Revere Beach Boulevard. It’s a great novel—ambitious, heartfelt, generous, and oh-so-skilled.”
 – Richard Russo

“Revere Beach Boulevard is that very thing one hopes for in fiction and rarely finds: a powerful story wedded to a unique voice set in a truly unforgettable landscape… A joy to read.”
– Anita Shreve

“A book so full of heart that pages almost pulse with it. Roland Merullo creates a family of flesh and blood and deep feelings.”
– Linda Crosson, Dallas Morning News

“The finest novel to come out of the gritty side streets and dangerous neighborhoods of urban American since William Kennedy’s Ironweed… Revere Beach Boulevard is a beautifully written evocation of place, of family, and of love, by an extraordinarily talented novelist who deserves our most serious attention.”
– Howard Frank Mosher

“Gripping and compassionate, daring and tender, written with the crisp assurance of an insider and the skill of a modern master. Roland Merullo has accomplished the near impossible—combining thrills and brilliant writing to produce this wonderfully satisfying tale of love in danger.”
– Elinor Lipman

A RUSSIAN REQUIEM

Publisher Little Brown, September 1993

Two weeks before the failed right-wing coup of August 1991, Anton Czesich, an American in his late forties who has spent a mostly disillusioning career working overseas for the U.S. government, arrives in Moscow to take charge of a volatile American food distribution program. Julie Stirvin, the love of his youth and his life, works at the American Embassy and is in charge of administering that program. She and Czesich have their own history, their own protracted cold war. Many miles away, in the mining center for Vostok, Soviet bureaucrat Servei Propenko, a former champion boxer, is in the midst of his own midlife crisis—partly personal, partly political. Modest and decent, surrounded by a household of strong-willed and politically astute women, Propenko is pinched between his traditional ambitions and concern for the safety of his very untraditional daughter, Lydia. As Czesich’s and Propenko’s fates intersect and intertwine, it becomes clear that both men are partially paralyzed by the same suspicions and fears that crippled Soviet-American relations for so long.

A Russian Requiem is a page-turner with depth, a finely crafted novel about the small piece o fhistory each of us bears and the way our intimate live reflect and echo in the politics of nations. Speckled with humor and irony, rich in both psychological and political drama, it carries the reader on a post-cold war voyage through the Russian—and American—soul.

***

“Roland Merullo’s ingenious novel… is stamped on every page with a veracity that could only have been imagined. I love the pace the pace and texture of this book, its urgency and ultimate compassion for what gets lost in the translation from one phrase in a country’s history to another. There is wonderful writing in these pages. I hope A Russian Requiem finds the large audience it deserves.”
 – Jay Parini

“A Russian Requiem has the brilliance that only comes when a gifted storyteller has had substantial experience with this subject. It is a remarkable book… beautifully written, filled with large characters clearly rendered.”
– Craig Nova

“The scope, power, and magnitude of this book amazed me… Merullo’s understanding of the Russian soul goes far beyond that of any other American author I’ve ever read. If I were to pick the one book this reminds me of more than any other, it would The Quiet American [by] Graham Greene… But in many ways I think A Russian Requiem is better.”
– Joe McGinniss

“A marvelous fictional exploration of a potentially great, but deeply flawed, country gone absolutely haywire… In its gritty authenticity, its keen political and historical savvy, in its heartfelt grasp of a human and national tragedy, and most of all its splendid characters, A Russian Requiem is one of the very best novels I’ve read in years.”
 – Howard Frank Mosher

“After his lyrical literary debut (Leaving Losapas, 1991), Merullo ventures into more commercial territory—in a highbrow thriller set during Russia's 1991 ‘undeclared civil war.’ A moving novel—with great cinematic potential—that brilliantly captures the historically tense moment of Russia on the verge of freedom, just before the attempted coup and the Party's last gasps.”
– Kirkus reviews

LEAVING LOSAPAS

Publisher Houghton Mifflin, February 1991

“Merullo's beautifully realized first novel focuses on an ex-Marine, tortured by his memories of Vietnam, who must choose between his adopted Micronesian island home of Losapas and the Boston suburb where he grew up.”
– Publishers Weekly
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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