Excerpt: A Summer of Good-Byes by Fred Misurella

About the Book:


Ben and Lee Alto follow Van Gogh’s 19th century path to Provence, hoping to find inspiration for their own lives and give their son, Misha, some insight into a world completely different from their own. They find art, of course, and a world of beautiful landscapes, warm temperatures, and, yes, wonderful food. But they also find a ghost of their past, and it’s not Vincent Van Gogh but a woman Ben once loved and a man, Zach, a well-known jazz musician, who teach them some hard lessons about art and life, as well as the art of life. 

A SUMMER OF GOOD-BYES resonates with the warmth of France’s southern sun, famous artists, and violent conflicts. It’s a vital, romantic story filled with the tensions of love and marriage, sexual longing and family loyalty, and the struggle to live in the face of impending death and loss.

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Featured in April/May 2018 Issue: 2018 Indie Best Award Winners

That was close to ten years ago, and I have no idea how much Anne-Marie has changed or grown. She lives in the 14th Arrondissement now, near Porte Orleans, not far from my old apartment, and works for an internet journal—web and paper page layout and design, not writing. We email occasionally, usually Christmas and birthday greetings, little more, but there’s always the sense–at least on my part–that one of these days, in Paris, or maybe here in New York, I will turn a corner and involuntarily catch my breath. I can’t picture it, what I’ll say, or what we’ll do, but there is a frisson of inevitability about it that keeps me on the alert after all this time–especially downtown New York, around Ground Zero. 

I feel it in other places too, I suppose, and before certain kinds of images, which probably says something about my time with Anne-Marie. I feel it on clear, beautiful autumn days with just a hint of smoke in them, when the leaves on maple and oak begin to fade slightly before their final, colorful burst. In my mind at least, it is Tuesday, September 11th again, but in a blessedly different year, and now I sit in western New Jersey, reviewing my life, thinking more realistically about my sixties and trying to understand what all that experience years ago has to say about beauty, along with horror, and the human delight I revel in when life unfurls its full potential. 

From A SUMMER OF GOOD-BYES, by Fred Misurella

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