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Portofino: A Novel


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About the Author

Frank Schaeffer is the author of the New York Times bestseller Keeping Faith and the memoir Crazy for God. His novels, including Portofino, have been translated into nine languages. He lives in Massachusetts.


Sharply evocative sensuous descriptions heighten the splendor of the Italian Riviera in a beautifully written bildungsroman coming-of-age story set in the summers of 1962 and 1965. Calvin Becker, 10 years old at the start of this debut novel, and his family, American fundamentalist missionaries based in Switzerland, take 10 days every year to vacation on the Mediterranean, and these trips are the best part of Calvin's life. In Paraggi and Portofino he leaves behind the exaggerated piety of his home to bask in color and wonder. Amid his adventures Calvin confronts his mortification at the all-too-apparent differences between his family and those around them; issues of faith and tolerance; the gap between his parents' messages about charity and their marital difficulties; and his own first love--with Jennifer, a British girl who belongs to the Church of England. Writing in the first person, in the voice of the adult Calvin, Schaeffer captures the experience of boyhood with great insight and unselfconscious humor. At times distinctions between his narrator and the boy protagonist are imprecise, but this is a mere quibble with a convincing and often touching novel. (Sept.)

"A wry coming of age tale ... splendid laugh-out loud moments."

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