Sunday, February 3, 2019

Birthday Review: Short Fiction of Eugene Mirabelli

Eugene Mirabelli was born 3 February 1931. He's best known for his realist novels, such as Renato the Painter and Renato after Alba. I've only read The Language Nobody Speaks, from 1999, a very worthwhile short novel, with erotic elements, about a couple in 1954 and their chance encounter with an older couple. It is his fantastical short fiction that brought me to his attention -- about ten stories starting in 2003, in F&SF, Asimov's, and Not One of Us, sweet and highly imaginative work. I've reprinted a couple of these in my Best of the Year books. Here are my reviews from Locus:

Locus, September 2003

In the September F&SF I quite liked Eugene Mirabelli's sweet "The Only Known Jump Across Time", about a tailor who befriends a professor because of their shared interest in gardening. After the professor's death he meets his daughter, and courts her by means of inventing a time machine. Doubtless Gordon van Gelder will hear more complaints about publishing non-SF in his SF magazine -- the "jump across time" is no more than ambiguously SFnal, but this a beautifully told love story, and I'm glad to have seen it.

Locus, August 2005

In the August F&SF I also liked another of Eugene Mirabelli's sweet love stories, "The Woman in Schrödinger's Wave Equations". As with his previous F&SF story, "The Only Known Jump Across Time", this isn't precisely SF, but it does use scientific speculation, and a physicist main character, in telling an absorbing story about a physics student and two young artists: one a beautiful painter who isn't quite right for him, the other a sweet mosaicist who maybe is just right.

Locus, December 2008

In F&SF for December I also liked – even better, I think – Eugene Mirabelli’s “Falling Angel”, a straight-faced and bittersweet story of a young man who finds an angel in his apartment, and commences a passionate affair. But angels, in the end, are not really of this world. As ever with Mirabelli, there is an edge of ambivalence to the fantastic element – and edge that in this case enhances the interest in the story, which is involving and moving.

Locus, February 2009

Eugene Mirabelli is impressive again in the latest F&SF, with “Catalog”, a decidedly original story about a man who suddenly finds himself in an unusual, and weirdly commercial, world – encountering a centerfold come to life, and an offbeat rock band, and other odd things – all the while remembering the enchanting picture of a woman in an L. L. Bean catalog.

Not One of Us Summary for 2009

My favorite story this year was from #42, Eugene Mirabelli's "Love in Another Language", a sweet story about Shozo Sakurado, a Pacific islander trying to teach his almost vanished language to people in the US, eventually including Sally Raven, a Native American social worker (and Tlingit speaker) ... the story turns on Sakurado's real story, and Sally's reaction.

Locus, September 2010

Cities in clouds turn up again in Eugene Mirabelli’s “The Palace in the Clouds”, a delightful mad story of a boy’s encounter with the true Venice, relocated to balloon-borne “canals”, as one might say.

Locus, November 2012

At shorter lengths, Eugene Mirabelli's “This Hologram World” is a beautifully bittersweet piece about a physicist coping with the loss of his wife.

And here's a link to my review of The Language Noboday Speaks.

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