My newest work, tentatively titled By the Fountain of the Four Rivers, is a linked collection of
short stories, or a novel-in-stories, set in Rome between the morning of the devastating December 2004 South-Asian
tsunami and the death of John Paul II in April 2005.
The stories cycle around these events as well as the concerns 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 an ethical dilemma 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. Interweaving these characters are several recurring figures, including a Roman performance artist
dedicating himself to reenacting the life of Caravaggio, a young woman from Ferentino who plays the organetto at the foot
of the Fountain of the Four Rivers, an unscrupulous but highly knowledgeable 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. The book is loosely patterned after Krzysztof
Kieslowki’s work, adapting aspects of his interconnected series of short films, The Decalogue, as well as his
Three Colors trilogy and his film The Double Life of Véronique.