Fausto's Keyhole by Jean Arnaldi

Set in Rome

Daughter of a newspaperman and a short-story writer. JEAN ARNALDI was born in Washington, D.C., and was educated at the Universities of Miami, Pittsburgh and Rome. She has worked as a reporter and editor for the Associated Press in New York and for ‘Stars and Stripes’ in Germany, and as a teacher of English at the University of Pittsburgh. She lives presently in Woodstock, New York, with her twelve-year-old son, Andre.(1962)

Jean Arnaldi

Fausto's Keyhole

JACKET NOTES:  A strong and distinctive new talent appears in the field of the American novel with the publication of Fausto's Keyhole by Jean Arnaldi. This is a striking book. Miss Arnaldi's gift for the sensuous--color, texture, taste, smell and sound-is extraordinary, her feeling for the rhythms of speech and the complexities of character equally so.
At the beginning of the book, Fausto is all but defeated. Undersized, dominated by the father he detests, following a profession he despises, engaged to a girl who torments and inhibits him, he has many reasons for melancholy, and only occasionally grasps wildly at some larger vision, some more fulfilling life.
By the end of the book he has done more than look through the keyhole of life; he has actually entered its room and found beauty and love for the first time, through the hours he spends with a young woman who is a roomer in his family's house and is known only as "the American."
All this against a setting that challenges any other novelist's presentation of the splendor and corruption, fascination and squalor, that is Rome. The surface of ‘Fausto's Keyhole’ is brilliant and vivid, but Miss Arnadi's vision also holds many intimations of deeper currents, the stirrings of life that many of us are afraid to face. This is a rich and engrossing book.
(© Atheneum)