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The Passion Dream Bookby Whitney Otto
Synopses & Reviews
With Her Trademark Originality, Whitney Otto Tells the story of a bohemian couple and the years they spend finding and losing each other. The Passion Dream Book is about artists, their tendency to colonize and to migrate.
A blending of fiction with history, the story begins in the Italian Renaissance with a girl named Giulietta, the daughter of a little-known artist who defies convention by apprenticing her. She is paid to spy on Michelangelo as he works on his sculpture of David. Hidden in his studio, she alternates between wanting the artist and wanting to be the artist.
The narrative jumps forward to 1918, with the story of Romy March, a descendant of Giulietta, whose artistic aspirations alienate her from her wealthy family. She falls in love with Augustine Marks, a photographer. Inclination and necessity pushes them toward "outsider lives". They journey from place to place — Hollywood of the silent films, Harlem during its renaissance, Paris at the end of the 20s, World War II London — separately and together, until they realize in Beat Generation San Francisco that only love brings them back again and again.
Written in elegant and spellbinding prose, this love story and novel of ideas is an homage to passion and dreams.
"A rare pleasure". — Seattle Times
The Passion Dream Book travels from the Italian Renaissance, when a girl spends her days spying on a famous young artist and experiences the divided love of wanting the artist and wanting to be the artist. Progressing to the early years of the 20th century, the novel follows the experiences of two artists, Romy March, a descendent of the Renaissance girl, and Augustine Marks.
Otto's novel is an imaginative mix of fact and fiction, history and story about the two enduring, occasionally conflicting passions of love and work. As Romy March and Augustine Marks migrate from place to place, separately and together, their love is their home and their home is each other.
The outsider lives they lead provide them with various living situations, including silent-era Hollywood, the Harlem Renaissance, Paris in the late 1920s and back to America. The novel touches on the migratory habits of artist colonies (and why they don't last), on race (since Romy and Augustine are of different races) and how one lives when tradition does not hold.
The bestselling author of "How to Make an American Quilt" and "Now You See Her" captures the enduring, sometimes conflicting passions of love and work in a luminous new novel which tells of a bohemian couple and the years they spend finding and losing each other.
About the Author
Whitney Otto has a B.A in history and an M.F.A. in English from the University of California at Irvine. She is a native of California and currently lives with her husband, John, and son, Sam, in Portland, OR.
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