Kate Holden: The Romantic

Winter shadows

Felicity Plunkett


The Romantic: Italian Nights and Days
by Kate Holden
Text Publishing, $32.95 pb, 240 pp, 9781921656743


For a book featuring a lot of sex, The Romantic – whose title could be ironic, acerbic, or hopeful – disgust is not the most obvious predominant motif readers might expect. Yet it punctuates the text, cutting the protagonist, Kate, as she travels through Italy with a stack of Romantic poetry and a desire for freedom – to be ‘a ghost’. Il buon tempo verrà: the good time is coming, she records in her notebook, borrowing words that Shelley had inscribed on a ring. Future tense: Il buon tempo is not part of her present.

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Published in November 2010 no. 326

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