from an article in New York Times from Elisabeth EganRebecca Serle Met Her Mom’s Old Boyfriend, Then Wrote a Best Seller
MOMMA MIA What would you give to be able to spend time with your mother as a young man, before the obligations and turning points of life hit her like a boulder on her shoulders? In “One Italian Summer“, now in its fourth week on the list of hardcover novels, Rebecca Serle immerses its protagonist in this fantasy. Circumstances are bittersweet for Katy Silverwhich arrives on the Amalfi Coast after that Carol, his mother and expected traveling companion, dies of cancer. There, in the lobby of his hotel in Positano, he meets an incarnation of Carol at the age of 30.
Serle’s mother is alive and in excellent health; indeed, Ranjana Serle recently surprised her daughter in Rancho Santa Fe, California at the last stop of her book tour. But “One Italian Summer” has a backstory that is partially rooted in reality, the author explained in a telephone interview. “In the summer of 2019 I went to Rome and then to Positano with my mom. She had spent time there after her second year of college; she had fallen in love and had this magical summer. She always talked about this wonderful time of hers.“
While they were traveling, the two women tracked down Remo Pizotti, Ranjana’s old Italian boyfriend and arranged to meet him at the Trevi Fountain. “They recognized each other immediately, which was so sweet“Rebecca said.”They saw each other and hugged and he brought back to my mother this spell in his way of calling her ‘love’ that she had given him almost 50 years ago.“With the help of Google Translate, the trio chatted in a coffee shop that was once the bar where Ranjana and Remo first met.
Rebecca Serle explained that her parents have been married for 40 years and that her father approved this meeting even though it took place on her birthday. When she and her mother greeted Pizotti at a bus stop, Serle looked back and noticed him as she watched Ranjana walk away from her. “It was very sweet and a little sad too“, he said. “It made me think about the women who are our mothers before meeting them. There are times in a writer’s life when the moment is just screaming at you to pay attention. I knew I wanted to tell a mother-daughter story and it somehow materialized for me“(No spoilers, but Katy and Carol spend time with a heartthrob named Remo.)
In another meta-twist, the audio version of “One Italian Summer” is read by Lauren Grahamwhose character of “A mother as a friend“, Lorelai, cites Rebecca Serle in her epigraph. The passage includes this wise motherly advice: “Take a window seat, honey, because there’s so much to see“.
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