Tough Poets Press

Hold Up the Head of Holofernes

Hold Up the Head of Holofernes
Carol Bonomo Albright
2022

Debut novel by former editor-in-chief of Italian Americana and editor of the anthologies American Woman, Italian Style: Italian Americana's Best Writings on Women (Fordham University Press, 2011), Wild Dreams: The Best of Italian Americana (Fordham University Press, 2009), and Italian Immigrants Go West: The Impact of Locale on Ethnicity (American Italian Historical Association, 2003).

"I read this novel in three happy sittings, thoroughly engaged, even transported. Carol Bonomo Albright is a vivid, fluent writer, and her novel shimmers, becoming what D. H. Lawrence would call a 'bright book of life.' The interlocking and mirroring narratives range widely over time and place, from Rome to Providence, with the confidence of a master storyteller. I recommend this book strongly!"
— Jay Parini (author of Borges and Me, etc.)

"The power with which Carol Albright writes is matched with her vision. She is a true magician, and in this uniquely dramatic account, a saga criss-crossing both time and space, you will marvel at the unforgettable performance she offers, bold with irony, tender with compassion, rich with paradox, unsparing in its truth."
— Alexander Theroux (author of Darconville's Cat, etc.)

"An admirable effort to interweave, across time and space, the experiences of three women who, having suffered the violation of their bodies, seek a medium—from artistic to legislative—to express the outrage and injustice that persist to this day. The structure of the novel propels the reader forward effortlessly."
— Elvira G. Di Fabio, Ph.D., Harvard University

Hold Up the Head of Holofernes is a riveting story of three women joined by a terrible assault on their bodies and one who wants to help them. It presents the risks and creativity in the lives of each of the main characters. Taking place in three different eras, each of the women taps into her power to heal herself with art and photography acting as healing media.

Actual historical figure, artist Artemisia Gentileschi lived in the 1600s in Renaissance Italy. Her portrayal of women breaks with men's portrayals in that Artemisia shows women's power and strength instead of their soft qualities, so often portrayed by male artists. Luisa, a Resistance courier, lived during World War II in Rome, a time when Italy found itself occupied by German soldiers. Finally, Maddie from 1978 Providence, Rhode Island, in meeting Alice, determines to try to pass helpful legislation not only for Alice, but for all women in her state.

Presented with historical accuracy, this compelling novel captures women's place in society, spanning four centuries. "Has there been any change?" is the question each reader must ask.

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