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A Florentine Influence

Alan Orr lives with a cultivated sense of pleasant aimlessness. Financially comfortable, the forty-two year old writes occasional articles for fine-art publications, a part-time occupation that brings him from his home in San Francisco to the rich art-world of Florence. His research complete, Orr finds himself in his favorite city with no set schedule - a circumstance that fits his predilections perfectly. Wandering the streets and museums of Florence, Orr reminisces about the two most important and influential people in his past. Thoughts of his ill-fated affair with Lauren, who studied Florentine humanism at Berkeley, lead inevitably to memories of Martin ("kind friend, mischievous god"), the high-school friend whom Lauren in some ways resembled, in temperament and type. Orr indulges in bittersweet recollections of friend and lover, a preoccupation that colors his every moment, including his encounter with Luca, an attractive, seductive young male prostitute. Returning to San Francisco, Orr finds himself beset with increasing ennui, leading to psychotherapy. His contentment with life depends on resolving his relationships with Martin and Lauren. Two separate reunions nearly two decades apart provide him with this opportunity. An insightful examination of how the past colors the course of one man's life, "A Florentine Influence" expertly merges old loves, personal regrets and reconciliation into lush, introspective word-pictures similar to the Baroque paintings Orr loves. Graham McKenzie's portrayal of Alan Orr may appeal to readers of the novellas of David Leavitt; it is by turns melancholic, sexual, and, ultimately, uplifting.
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About the Author

Graham McKenzie's stories have appeared in literary journals. "A Florentine Influence" is his first novel.

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