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My brown grass that spring was the Riss Restaurant, a purgatorial place where I would sit day after day doing little or nothing, surrounded by others doing less. It was at the Riss that Sheila found me, at the Riss that she suggested that we move to Italy, and at the Riss that I refused to go.
Sheila, an artist, had just given birth to our child. With no reason to believe that I would ever work, she felt compelled to earn money. That's where Italy came in.
Sheila knew of a medieval town at the top of a hill in central Italy. Artists lived there and one of them had a vacant house and studio. The town and studio would inspire her to complete a new series of paintings, which she would sell to support us. As for me, Sheila claimed that the town had two or three coffee shops that were as awful as the Riss.
I began to assemble the excuses for not going. But Sheila didn't need to hear them-she knew them from countless other conversations, all of which ended the same way: I would not leave.
But that afternoon something happened. A sheet of paper taped to the cash register. A sign.
The Riss, which had been open twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week, for seven decades, was closing.
It should not have surprised me-unlike Heaven and Hell, Purgatory was bound by time, subject to decay and oblivion.
Days later we left for Italy.
That Sheila was responsible for the sign on the cash register did not occur to me until it was too late.
Copyright (c) 2001 by Michael Rips
|The Blessing of the Bean||12|
|Luciano's New Home||68|
|The Boot Maker||95|
|Times Ravishes the Day||113|
|The Guy and the Non-Guy||146|
|The Ping-Pong Table||191|
|Poets of the Arm||204|
Posted May 14, 2004
I am not the bravest traveler. I wish I could start up a conversation with the interesting-looking people I see, but I guess I'm afraid that people will find me either dull or annoying - or both. No such fear seems to haunt the author of Pasquale's Nose. He has apparently discovered that people never find you dull when you are passionately interested in them. Michael Ripps writes passionately, as well, and with some moments of real grace. His interest in his characters and in telling their stories is fervid and seems heartfelt - enough so that he mythologizes their quirks to the point where they are too fantastic to be accepted as fact. That works for me. There's an oddball quality to these tales of a fish out of water - and it comes from the fact that ALL the fish seem at one time or another to be flopping around, gasping for air while trying to splash back into the proper pond. Pasquale's Nose has that Mark Twain kind of fabulousness. There's just enough truth to make the reader wonder how much of the rest to believe. All in all, I'd love to travel with this guy, just to see how it's done.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted April 29, 2004
Michael Rips teaches a gentle lesson of life through his fanciful views of a quirky little town which is not Rome. He wraps the lesson up with an insight into just what did happen to Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden. I strongly recommend this book to anyone who loves an odd character in his own town or who wishes to travel far from the comfort of her armchair to a charming place out of time.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted November 20, 2009
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