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About the Author
Melissa Pritchard is the author of the novel Palmerino, the short story collection The Odditorium, and the essay collection A Solemn Pleasure: To Imagine, Witness, and Write, among other books. She has received the Flannery O'Connor, Janet Heidinger Kafka, and Carl Sandburg awards and two of her short fiction collections were New York Times Notable Book and Editors' Choice selections. Her fiction, essays, and journalism have also appeared in numerous magazines, textbooks, anthologies, and journals, including the Nation, Paris Review, O, The Oprah Magazine, A Public Space, Ecotone, Wilson Quarterly, and the Chicago Tribune as well as the PEN/O. Henry Prize Stories and Pushcart Prize anthologies. Emeritus Professor of English and Women's Studies at Arizona State University, she now lives in Columbus, Georgia.
American Library Association "Over the Rainbow List" selection "A richly imagined, sensuous tale of a British writer holding court in Italy, flouting Victorian mores via her writing and her sexuality." --O, The Oprah Magazine "Slim and poetic . . . the mood is of thunderstorm air thick with loneliness and longing." --National Post "Part love story (or stories), part treatise on aesthetics, part mysterious tale of the supernatural, Palmerino [is] a tale of multiple seductions." --Phoenix New Times "A novel of allure . . . as fanciful as Astrid Lindgren's Villa Villakula and foreboding as The Eagles' "Hotel California," Palmerino is surprising at every turn, sometimes frightening, and above all beautiful." --Lambda Literary "Melissa Pritchard has opened the door to understanding a once famous British lesbian writer. . . . Palmerino is a beautifully written and well-structured work." --Gay & Lesbian Review "[Palmerino] draws its life from its large and vivid characters. . . . With her signature hothouse lyricism and psychological acuity, Pritchard carries us fully into her created world." --IMAGE: Art, Faith, Mystery "In a mere 192 pages, Melissa Pritchard has created a rich, lush, and riveting story of two women writers in different eras." --Shelf Unbound "The achingly gorgeous prose in which Palmerino is written strikes pitch-perfect harmony with its equally strong expression of humanity, promising that the hidden beauty within is always worth the time it takes to discover it." --CCLaP: Chicago Center for Literature and Photography "A fascinating historical novel. . . . A mesmerizing love story. . . . Magnificent." --Connotation Press "Haunting, seductive, and magical." --GayRVA.com "Pritchard skillfully blends the past and present in her novel Palmerino, a book both richly lyrical and highly imaginative." --Largehearted Boy "Enthralling . . . An intriguing introduction to Violet Paget, and an unusual look into the mysteries of writing." --Booklist "A supernaturally infused, innovative story . . . Pritchard's fertile imagination and presentation give new meaning to the expression 'a meeting of the minds.'" --Kirkus Reviews "Lush, tactile descriptions and impressionistic scenes bring alive this historical novel . . . cast[ing] Paget and her late nineteenth-century lifestyle in a captivating light." --ForeWord Reviews "Vibrant, passionate and absorbing. . . . Recommended." --Historical Novels Review "Rarely has a novel based on real people reached such deftly crafted literary excellence as this historical work of fiction clearly documenting Melissa Pritchard as a writer equal to any of the people populating her superbly presented story. Palmerino is a complex and entertaining novel that is highly recommended for personal reading lists and community library literary fiction collections." --Midwest Book Review "Fiction can reimagine flesh-and-blood folks to stunning effect . . . What a pleasure, then, to discover Melissa Pritchard's Palmerino, which envisions the life of Vernon Lee, the pen name and male persona of Englishwoman Violet Paget. Opening with the contemporary story of Sylvia, who discovers Lee while working at Villa il Palmerino in the Italian countryside and becomes her biographer, this work is related in sun-on-raindrops prose that draws in readers." --BARBARA HOFFERT, Library Journal Book Expo America Editor's Pick "Dazzling in its descriptions, lush and lyrical in language, Palmerino is a jewel of a novel. It is a tale to be savored like a rich Italian pastry. Melissa Pritchard's characters--eccentric, quirky, and brilliant--will live on in the heart and mind long after the last crumb is licked from the plate." --NAOMI BENARON, author of Running the Rift "At the heart of Palmerino lies beauty, grace, longing, love. Melissa Pritchard's picturesque prose is fertile, sensuous, a voice of insight, truth. Unique and refreshing as 'the great female soul that is Palmerino.' Gorgeous and heartbreaking. This book is a sensual treasure." --KIM CHINQUEE, author of Pretty "Palmerino finds Melissa Pritchard's signature style in peak form. Pritchard is a writer of sensibility. Her unique gift is the ability to interweave the resonances of consciousness--memory, intelligence, emotion--with those of a historical time and a powerful sense of place, so that character emerges as a coherent, credible, internal voice uttering a sensual flow of language, both lush and precise." --STUART DYBEK, author of The Coast of Chicago "This lovely, sexy novel provides a sumptuous glance into the secret lives of artists. At its center is Violet, a fierce woman who never met a rule she didn't break. Melissa Pritchard's voice is completely her own and her characters are as unique, wild and magical as she is." --TAYARI JONES, author of Silver Sparrow "Bounding between Italy today and of a century ago, a breathtaking gallop through intellectualism, feminism, sexuality, cultural history, honeysuckle, focaccia, plums, language, landscape, love, the supernatural, metafiction, mortality and resurrection, with Pritchard always firmly at the reins." --ANNE KORKEAKIVI, author of An Unexpected Guest "A taut and elegant imagining of Vernon Lee's life that sparkles with Einfühlung for the writer, for Italy and for the love--wild, unconsummated, shattered--that lies at the heart of the best creative work. Weaving fact and fiction, past and present, Palmerino becomes its own beautiful mirror, a work that 'slips free of the self' to reveal the mysterious other. Sublime and moving, its gorgeous prose haunts the reader long after the last page." --ANA MENÉNDEZ, author of Adios, Happy Homeland! "Seduction is at the lush heart of Palmerino. The Florentine retreat seduces us just as surely as it seduces the lonely and abandoned Sylvia, an historical novelist who in turn is seduced by the spirit of the brilliant Violet Paget, who lived there a century earlier. Writing as Vernon Lee, Violet's own seduction is one of the most quietly erotic scenes ever written." --PAMELA PAINTER, author of Wouldn't You Like to Know "In her subtle yet breathtaking new novel, Palmerino, Melissa Pritchard seduces us once again with her characteristically sensual and deeply poetic prose. Elegantly braiding time, this woven narrative is calibrated by Pritchard's exquisite erotic reckonings and resonant aesthetic reflections. In resurrecting Violet Paget/ Vernon Lee at our own historical moment (and by invoking a gallery of beloved and provocative artists and esthetes), Melissa Pritchard has provided for her readers a portrait-mirror in which to gaze--a glorious vision of both Palmerino and of a writer in pursuit of its history--one that would make even Oscar Wilde blush with envy." --DAVID ST. JOHN, author of The Auroras "Melissa Pritchard stands out among contemporary writers for her ability to portray the complex inner lives of her characters. As we follow them through their experiences and memories into their dreams, we're invited to flex our own imaginations, even, if we're willing, to become more supple thinkers, thanks to this writer's supple prose." --JOANNA SCOTT, author of Follow Me "A brilliant novel whose cast of characters, strong, strange, vivid, eccentric, will make you feel enriched and enlivened, and will leave you wanting to visit, or to visit again, the rich interiors of Tuscany past and present, the opulent mysteries of its food and wine, and not least the magic of its natural landscapes and seasons. Melissa Pritchard's delicate and precise prose achieves all this, as if casually, while capturing her reader in the forward momentum of her story." --C.K. STEAD, author of Mansfield