No Light from Heaven. By Marc Zimmerman. ISBN: 978-1951088101 170 pages $23.95
Latino Fiction, Hispanic literature, Sephardic literature, Latino Jewish--Social life and customs--Fiction, Latino Jewish Literature--Travels--Fiction
Published by Floricanto Press
“Every time Marc Zimmerman publishes a new book, I celebrate. He is a wonderful writer, and this time out, he doesn’t disappoint.” Luis Alberto Urrea, author of The Hummingbird’s Daughter, Into the Beautiful North, The House of Broken Angels and many more.
To misquote Tolstoy, “Every unhappy marriage is unhappy in its own way.” So it goes in Marc Zimmerman’s new book. Several of his previous fiction works include stories about his Jewish American professor protagonist, Mel, and the passionate, beautiful, charismatic, and willful Marlena Rienzi. Now Zimmerman brings those stories together with many others to form a compelling narrative of life with Marlena until it is impossible to go on.
Who is Marlena? Like and unlike Anna Karenina, Emma Bovary, Constance Chatterley or Nicole Diver in F. Scott Fitzgerald’s tragic novel—or other women who struggle against the bonds of marriage. An Italian-American woman of the 1950s who rejects the stereotyped roles others have wished her to play, who lives out her drive to attract and seduce many of those who come to know her, who is relentless in fulfilling her desires, and who, in the 1960s, comes to see the marriage she has sought as a cage out of which she must break.
A bi-sexual but primarily Lesbian woman demanding freedom and self-fulfillment no matter what, and a man whose passions lead him into a downward spiral that threatens his life and identity unless he can find the strength to escape.
Is the book a novel, a memoir or some hybrid genre? Clearly a Jewish-American narrative, it deals with Italian, Latino and African and other Americans, as the star-crossed lovers travel from California and Oregon to New York and back—to Spain, France, Italy as well as other locales in the U.S., Europe and Mexico. What emerges is a gripping narrative combining experience and imagination—a story of two who should probably have never been, a story evoking the compulsion and heartbreak of relationships many of us have come to know.
Marc Zimmerman has written and edited over forty books, with seven prior tomes of “memoir fiction”—narratives in which memories lead to fictional constructs: Stores of Winter and Martin and Marvin (LACASA 2006 and 2016), as well as The Italian Daze, The Short of it All, and his “Border Trilogy,” Lines on the Border, Sandino on the Border, and La Dolce Vita on the Northern Side (Floricanto Press, 2016-2019).
“Zimmerman still has a lot to say, including some stories in the category of the best that literature can offer.” Antonio Zavala, journalist and author of the fiction collection, Pale Yellow Moon.