My newest work, tentatively titled By the Fountain of the Four Rivers, is a linked collection of
short stories or a novel-in-stories. Each of the book's seven stories is set in Rome, more often than not in
Rome's Centro Storico, and each takes place between the morning of the devastating December 2004 South-Asian
tsunami and the death of Pope John Paul II in April 2005.
The stories, or chapters, cycle around these events as well as the concerns (mainly crises of character
and/or faith) of the book's central characters: a Boston stocks analyst and his pregnant wife; a young Montessori
teacher from British Columbia involved with a married man; a Chicago-born hostess who takes a leave from her job
in Tokyo’s Ginza district; a native Roman who works as a centurion outside the Colosseum; a pet-store owner from
San Francisco who travels to Rome to trace the footsteps of his recently deceased daughter; a divorced New York
academic facing ethical issues at her university; and a former Christian Brother who travels to the holy city
to pray for his ailing stepsister and to climb on his knees the twenty-eight steps of La Scala Santa.
Connecting these characters are several background, recurring figures, including a Roman performance artist
who believes he is the reincarnation of Caravaggio, a young woman from Ferentino who plays the organetto
at the foot of the Fountain of the Four Rivers, an unscrupulous German tour guide, and a former nun who has left
her cloistered convent in Croatia for a life of social service in Rome. The book is also about the city of Rome
itself, as each of the stories reflects, and draws its central narrative from, the religious history and art
in of one or more of Rome’s churches.