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Set in the Hudson Valley, beginning in the 1960s, Carnevale is at heart a family saga.  The book begins as a memoir of the painter Guido Diamante’s unusual childhood at the Villa Giustovera—a "carnival" of characters and incidents, climaxing with an unforgettable costumed ball at his family’s hotel. When he abandons this project during the economic crisis of 2008 and returns to teaching at the Hudson River College, Guido soon becomes embroiled in a scheme to revive the reputation and market value of his rascal mentor, the painter Leo Declare, recently found drowned in the Hudson. At the same time, a childhood friend invites him to become a police sketch artist, providing Guido with an opportunity to do penance for the misdeeds of his youth, when he worked for Declare and his dubious partner at the Half Moon Café and Saloon. Guido’s labyrinth of memories is steeped in references to the “brave new world” of the sexy, psychedelic 60s, and is colored by his knowledge of Renaissance art, alchemy, and the Tarot. While seeking his own Philosopher’s Stone, Guido is also in search of his runaway cousin Tina, an irresistible beauty possessed of psychic abilities they both have inherited from their grandmother. Is she the key to his contentment? 

Carnevale is a classic bildungsroman focusing on the emotional and intellectual education of its hero, Guido Diamante, with vivid portraits of the world he grows up in, the important people in his life as a child and adolescent, and his gradual discovery of who he will become. It is also an absorbing story of an immigrant family and the grand Hudson Valley resort they built in the years after World War II.”

—Alison Lurie, Pulitzer Prize winning author of Foreign Affairs

About the Author

Peter Fortunato grew up in Wappingers Falls and Poughkeepsie, New York at a family run restaurant and resort much like the Villa Giustovera.  His father was a stage magician and singer and his mother an extraordinary seamstress and cook. He is a poet, painter, performer, ceremony maker, and hypnotherapist, and recently retired from teaching at Cornell and Ithaca College.  Mr. Fortunato has been a Buddhist for many years, as well as a shaman, Reiki master practitioner, and Tarot mage.  

Peter’s website

Peter reads from Carnevale

Guest posts at Best American Poetry

Review by Sherri Daly in BookTrib