Don Juan In Hankey, Pa

Don Juan In Hankey, Pa

3.5 4
by Gale Martin

Peek beneath the surface of an extraordinary small-town opera company, and get to know a fabulous cast of characters: determined fl irts, a lusty singing gaucho, ingenious manipulators, a bipolar ketchup heiress, devious lovers, and some very determined ghosts. Delve into high society in Hankey,PA-a world of simmering seductions, convoluted mysteries and…  See more details below


Peek beneath the surface of an extraordinary small-town opera company, and get to know a fabulous cast of characters: determined fl irts, a lusty singing gaucho, ingenious manipulators, a bipolar ketchup heiress, devious lovers, and some very determined ghosts. Delve into high society in Hankey,PA-a world of simmering seductions, convoluted mysteries and entertaining intrigues. You may laugh out loud. You may cheer for the gang of misfi ts trying to save their opera house from foreclosure by improbably staging a world-class production of Mozart's masterpiece. You may feel a tug at your heartstrings as lonely lovers look for new romance. Gale Martin's new novel, Don Juan in Hankey, PA,will delight readers everywhere.

Editorial Reviews

Kirkus Reviews
In Gale's humorous backstage novel, a small-town opera company stages Don Giovanni. With revenues declining, putting on an opera anywhere these days is a difficult task--especially so in the fading Rust Belt town of Hankey, Pa. Although the opera's new artistic director collapsed with a heart attack during his job interview, he teams up with the opera guild--led by energetic divorcee Deanna Lundquist--to ambitiously plan a production of Don Giovanni, technical challenges and all. Things start looking up when they snag rising star Leandro Vasquez for the lead. Discovered singing to his cattle, he's a lusty, smoldering-hot Argentinian gaucho--someone sexy enough to bring a whole new audience to the opera. Unfortunately, he might lose himself in the role. Guild members include a retired dermatologist, a lovesick ingénue, a manic-depressive heiress to a condiment empire and an event planner who speaks to the dead. And then there are the ghosts. Packed with comic misadventures, mystery, intrigue and opera lore, the book rollicks along to a satisfying conclusion. In trying to give each point of view its due, Pushcart Prize–nominee Martin sometimes has difficulty wrangling her large cast, making it hard for readers to keep track of all the intersecting, overlapping agendas. A carefully staged farce in the lothario Leandro's dressing room, for example, fizzles; there's too much going on for too little payoff. One character, Jeannie Jacobs, overcomplicates things to little effect, and the book would be stronger without her. But the interplay among the cast is amusing; Vivian, the ketchup heiress, gets some especially good scenes. Though everyone's easy acceptance of the supernatural can strain belief--one character levitates during a séance, exciting no comment--the generally operatic setting helps it all go down better. The details involved in putting on an important opera are fascinating and true, particularly the technical discussions about staging. Cognoscenti will especially appreciate the musical references, but readers need not be opera buffs to enjoy this novel.

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Product Details

Libertary Co.
Publication date:
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Product dimensions:
5.50(w) x 8.50(h) x 0.70(d)

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Don Juan in Hankey, PA 3.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 4 reviews.
nyauthoress More than 1 year ago
A dying theater in a declining town mounts an opera production to stay afloat. Don Juan in Hankey, PA is a colorful backstage adventure with a hilarious cast of characters. Something calamitous happens when the leading man (Don Juan/Don Giovanni) pulls out of his contract. Despite many complications, the opera guild recovers and mounts their production. The book cover promises much and the book delivers. It is a wonderful mosaic of lust, jealousy, laughs, hifalutin egos, outrageous events and wounded hearts. The book is farcical, clever and witty. Although it centers around an eighteenth century opera, the modern-day characters use cellphones, Facebook, buy puppies online and take lithium. Because it is a Don Juan story, expect much bravado and a few sexual references. For those who don’t know opera, the book is accessible and fun. For those who do, there’s an extra bonus. Puns on opera titles and happenings abound. If you need some light reading, I recommend this great romp.
ReadersFavorite More than 1 year ago
Reviewed by Ioana Marza for Readers' Favorite Don Juan in Hankey, PA by Gale Martin follows the troubles of the Board of Directors of a small town opera company while trying to organise the production of Don Giovanni and save their struggling opera house from financial ruin. Everything that could go wrong for them does from the outset. The singer they were hoping to employ becomes unavailable, one of the directors has a heart attack while the mother of another dies in extraordinary, even unearthly, circumstances. Through their sheer determination and ingenuity, the members of the opera guild tackle the challenges. Their main goal is to make opera accessible to ordinary folk, and they would do anything from lying and impersonating other people, to sending shirtless photos of the baritone to all their patrons. They find a replacement performer, an up and coming irresistible Argentine who is an immense flirt; they bring new members to the guild; and also find (and lose) love in various forms, all of this while more and more obstacles ensue.  While Gale Martin must had done plenty of research into the opera world before writing this, no knowledge of opera is necessary in order to read it. Don Juan in Hankey, PA fits very closely the definition of 'opera buffa' - while still part of the opera world, it was written for and depicts ordinary people. Elaborate language and grandiose opera terms are avoided. In the cast of characters, Gale Martin mixes a cocktail of archetypes from the opera world: the over the top womaniser, the diva, the grieving husband, the elderly rich woman who falls for the unworthy young Don Juan, and even ghosts (good and bad) play a part in this laugh-out-loud comedy. Personally, I was not sure about the inclusion of the ghostly dimension. Nevertheless, if you are after a light read with a different setting, you will find this riotous, slightly crazy slapstick comedy a lot of good fun.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I read it to the end. Still wondering what really happened in the first chapter. Other reviewers thought it was hysterical. I would not go that far. It was "cute"
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I was interested in reading "Don Juan..." because it was written by a local author and set in small town Pennsylvania. Before I started, I was worried that my lack of opera knowledge would hinder my enjoyment of the story line. Happy to say that I enjoyed the characters so much that the opera was simply a setting for their activities! A fun read... I laughed out loud more than once! Looking forward to Gale's next novel!!