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The Roman Spring of Mrs. Stone was the celebrated debut novel, albeit a thin one, of acclaimed author and playwright Tennessee Williams - a A Streetcar Named Desire and The Glass Menagerie being perhaps his most famous two works.
In this gripping overseas romance, narrated with a graceful British lilt by Shirley Knight, a wealthy aging actress, Karen Stone, is adrift in Rome after her husband dies of a fatal heart attack during the journey over. When she falls for a much younger Italian lover, the passion ignites and treachery commences in richly rewarding detail.
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Classic Tennessee Williams
Having just recently watched the movie with Helen Mirren as Mrs. Stone, it dawned on me I should actually Tuesday some works by the author, rather than just watch movie renditions.
So cheated “read’ with “listen” and, as luck would have it, this was the only of his books I found on Audible.
Still going backwards, the movie was quite faithful to the book, with the exceptions not affecting the story at all.
Mr. Williams has a wonderfully insightful way of presenting all the contextual how’s, why’s and wherefores of a situation before zooming in on The. Point., often presenting deadpan humor in all seriousness.
Embedded in his technique is (here) the tale of a woman of a certain age and independent means struggling to rebuild a significant life after the pillars of significance in her now-former life had fallen.
Not an easy task in post-war Rome, trying to navigate the gold diggers of several ages and fallen - as well as contrived - social classes.
Though the story holds up well all these decades later, the raciness of it has lost its piquancy compared to what 2022 culture is casually exposed to.