The Medici Boy
While creating his famous bronze of David and Goliath, Donatello’s passion for his enormously beautiful model and part time rent boy, Agnolo, ignites a dangerous jealousy that ultimately leads to murder. Luca, the complex and conflicted assistant, will sacrifice all to save Donatello, even his master’s friend--the great patron of art, Cosimo de’ Medici. John L’Heureux’s long-awaited novel delivers both a monumental and intimate narrative of the creative genius, Donatello, at the height of his powers. With incisive detail, L’Heureux beautifully renders the master sculptor’s forbidden homosexual passions, and the artistry that enthralled the powerful and highly competitive Medici and Albizzi families. The finished work is a sumptuous historical novel that entertains while it delves deeply into both the sacred and the profane within one of the Italian Renaissance’s most consequential cities, fifteenth century Florence.
Against the background of the witch hunt against gay men in 15th century Florence, John L'Heureux has built a gripping story of love, genius, and betrayal.
A tremendous historical tale evoking the creativity and fervour of Renaissance Florence
[L'Heureux's] luminous prose, swift narrative, love of art history, and cool eye for human weakness makes 'The Medici Boy' one pleasure to read.
Author biography:John L'Heureux The author of over twenty volumes, which include poetry, short story collections, and novels, John L'Heureux is a highly distinguished writer. He has taught at Georgetown University, Tufts, Harvard, and for over 35 years in the English Department of Stanford University, where he was the Lane Professor of Humanities.
L’Heureux’s father was an engineer and carpenter, and his mother a pianist, whilst they both painted. He explains that he can’t build things, can’t really paint particularly well, and cannot sing, or dance.
That said, he is clearly very creative as an accomplished wordsmith.
Born in South Hadley, Massachusetts, in 1934 John L'Heureux attended public schools, before training as actor, and going on to perform briefly on stage and television. He then attended Holy Cross College, and entered the Jesuits because ‘I felt it was the best and most generous thing I could do with my life and so I did it’. He remained with the Order for seventeen years before gaining laicization in 1971. Whilst a Jesuit he received a classical education and later worked as an editor on ‘The Atlantic’. His writing, commencing with poetry, he explains ‘extended far back into my Jesuit life’. Teaching and writing were then to be his new calling.
Again, speaking of himself he states categorically that he doesn’t write for money, or prizes, or indeed therapy, but for the pleasure and satisfaction he gains from it: ‘I write for the satisfactions provided by the process itself and because there’s a great pleasure in seeing a piece of work that’s truly finished. Or as finished as I can make it. A book that’s good in itself and good to read’.
Nonetheless, wider recognition from the public and the publishing world has followed since L'Heureux first began writing poetry in his early twenties. His works have appeared in the ‘Atlantic Monthly’, ‘Esquire’, ‘Harper’s’, ‘The New Yorker’, and many other journals, along with being included in dozens of anthologies including ‘Best American Stories’, and ‘Prize Stories’.
He has received numerous favourable reviews in ‘The New York Times’ and elsewhere for his poetry and novels; writing Fellowships from the ‘National Endowment for the Arts’ upon two occasions; and was awarded a Guggenheim Grant to do research for his novel, ‘The Medici Boy’. This is all in addition to having twice received the Dean’s Award for Excellence in Teaching, and many other tributes to his talent and developed skills.
His fiction has an underlying wit and seeks to pose philosophical questions, not that he would claim to have answered many of them, and is centred upon the resolution of conflict in which his characters are placed. In his teaching he has been a major influence on many now highly distinguished American writers, although modestly claims they had the inherent talent to start with and he simply posed questions such that they could examine their work from different perspectives.
John L'Heureux is now retired and lives in California with his wife Joan, also a teacher and writer.