A dazzling and devastating reimagining of Tennessee Williams's love affair with his longtime companion Frank Merlo.
PORTOFINO, ITALY. JULY 1953
At a glittering party thrown by Truman Capote, literary sensation Tennessee Williams and his longtime lover Frank Merlo meet the enigmatic Anja Blomgren, an aspiring Swedish actress.
Their encounter will alter the course of their lives forever.
Spanning half a century and featuring a dazzling cast of characters - from Anna Magnani cooking pasta amatriciana in a sun-kissed kitchen in Rome, to Ludovico Visconti barking orders on his latest film set - LEADING MEN is a heart-breaking novel about life in the shadows of greatness, and a moving re-telling of one of the great literary love stories of the twentieth-century.
'I read LEADING MEN in one rapt afternoon, and spent hours afterwards just stunned from having been immersed in such a tender, psychologically devastating, and gorgeously precise novel' Lauren Groff, author of FATES AND FURIES
'An alert, sweeping novel. To hold it in your hands is like holding a front-row opera ticket' Dwight Garner, New York Times 'This is a novel of rare insight and beauty, and Castellani is a writer of brilliant gifts' Garth Greenwell, author of WHAT BELONGS TO YOU
Blazing... Casts a spell right from the start. - Dwight Garner, New York Times
Seductive, steamy... Castellani's quiet portrayal of Merlo has a deep, aching appeal and his prose has a beguiling lilt and colour. - Boston Globe
Dazzling... [Castellani writes] with an evocative precision that historical fiction often merely aspires to. - Entertainment Weekly
A novel of rare insight and beauty, and Castellani is a writer of brilliant gifts. - Garth Greenwell, author of What Belongs to You
The son of Italian immigrants and a native of Wilmington, Delaware, CHRISTOPHER CASTELLANI now lives in Boston, where he works as artistic director of Grub Street, one of the country's leading independent creative writing centers.
He was awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship for researching and writing LEADING MEN.