Pasquale's Nose: Idle Days in an Italian Townby Michael Rips
Beloved of readers and critics everywhere for its quirkiness, its hilarity, its charm, Pasquale's Nose tells the story of a New York City lawyer who runs away to a small Etruscan village with his wife and new baby, and discovers a community of true eccentrics -- warring bean growers, vanishing philosophers, a blind boot maker, a porcupine hunter -- among whom he feels unexpectedly at home.
- Little, Brown and Company
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- Hachette Digital, Inc.
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For as long as I can remember I have suffered from the belief that the place where I am living, however wretched, is preferable to anywhere else, however pleasant-the brown grass here is better than the green grass there.
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
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