Bradford Morrow’s Giovanni’s Gift by Jim Lewis

Giovanni’s Gift is Bradford Morrow’s fourth novel, his second in two years, and it brings his corpus around an interesting bend.

Part of the Editor's Choice series.

BOMB 59 Spring 1997
Issue 59 059  Spring 1997
Morrow 01

Bradford Morrow. © 1994 by Marion Ettlinger.

Giovanni’s Gift is Bradford Morrow’s fourth novel, his second in two years, and it brings his corpus around an interesting bend. Where his earlier books have been pointedly broad, both in their imagination and in the doings they document, this is a comparatively circumscribed effort, a tightly built plot which takes place among one specific set of people, in one very definite locale. The narrator is a returned expatriate named Grant; the setting is a beautifully rendered Colorado ranch, where his aunt and uncle are suffering from strange and terrifying midnight visits from anonymous vandals. Giovanni is a family friend, murdered some time back; and his gift, bestowed posthumously, is a cigar box full of mementos, which promises to solve the mystery surrounding his death.

A straightforward enough story: as I’ve described it, it’s a kind of thriller, and certainly the book has all of a thriller’s momentum and complexity. But in Morrow’s hands the genre dilates to include a host of auxiliary themes and phenomena—the mountain landscape, the figure of Pandora’s box, the ties of love and family, violence, secrecy—each of which receives the author’s own gift of elucidation, reflection, and description. The book is a wonder and a pleasure, and it should bring its author some long overdue attention.

—Jim Lewis

Giovanni’s Gift was just published by Viking.

Martin Amis by Patrick McGrath
Amis 01 Body
Marcia Douglas by Loretta Collins Klobah
Half Way Tree

In echoes and splices of “narrative sonic bites,” Douglas sets her experimental novel, The Marvellous Equations of the Dread, to the dub pulse of Rasta tradition.

Acrostics and Erotics: Kevin Killian Interviewed by John Neff
Kevin Killian1

An art exhibition inspired by a novel.

Roque Larraquy’s Comemadre by J.W. McCormack
Comemadre Abedit

Let’s begin with death. “Let’s say that in the course of all human experience, death is pure conjecture: it is, as such, not an experience. And all that which is not an experience is useless to mankind.” The speaker here is Ledesma, one of a cadre of lovelorn, thoroughly chauvinistic doctors up to no good at a sanatorium just outside Buenos Aires.

Originally published in

BOMB 59, Spring 1997

Featuring interviews with Tim Roth, Amy Hempel, Emmylou Harris, Matthew Ritchie, Wallace Shawn, Christian Wolff, Gilles Peress, Kendall Thomas, and George Walker.

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Issue 59 059  Spring 1997