The Sixteen Pleasures

The Sixteen Pleasures

Book - 1994
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Baker & Taylor
Spiritual longing and earthly delights blend in the tale of Margot Harrington, who, in 1966, goes to flooded Florence, where she discovers a one-of-a-kind book of Renaissance erotica and becomes involved with an Italian art restorer. 25,000 first printing.

Blackwell North Amer
"Mud angels" is what the Italians call the selfless young foreigners who come to Florence in 1966 to save the city's priceless art from the Arno's flooded riverbanks.
Margot Harrington is an American volunteer, an expert at book conservancy. While struggling to save a waterlogged convent library, she discovers a fabulous volume of sixteen erotic drawings by Giulio Romano that accompany sixteen steamy sonnets by Pietro Aretino. When published more than four centuries earlier, the Vatican had insisted all copies be destroyed. This one - now unique - volume has survived.
The abbess, with wonderful aplomb, prevails upon Margot to save the order's finances by selling the magnificently illustrated erotica, discreetly. Meaning: without the bishop's knowledge.
The young American's other clandestine project is a middle-aged Italian who is boldly trying radical measures to save endangered frescoes. She is 29 and available; he, older and married. He shares her sense of mission and then her bed in this ambrosial story of spiritual longing and earthly desire.

& Taylor

When Margot Harrington goes to Italy to help restore its books after the Arno flood in 1966, she ends up working in a convent where she finds a rare book of erotica which the mother Superior asks her to sell in order to keep the convent library intact

Publisher: New York : Soho, c1994.
ISBN: 9781569470060
Characteristics: 327 p. ; 24 cm.
Alternative Title: 16 pleasures.


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Jun 07, 2013

I enjoyed this book for some very personal reasons - I lived in Florence when I was growing up, specifically Fiesole. And in 1967 I returned to Florence for 3 months to study. So much of what is described was familiar to me and perhaps that is what made it such a great read. I did not want it to end - perhaps I will try another one by the same author. The narrative changes from first person to 3rd person and back again. It is well written and the descriptions of Italy for that time are right on.

Dec 01, 2010

Read this before you read The Italian Lover.

Sep 19, 2009

This story is about young woman who returns to Florence Italy, a place she visited in her youth with her late mother. She is an American librarian and book conservator coming to help restore precious artifacts damaged by the flood of 1966.

She soon discovers friendship, love, self-fulfillment and a new home, while ultimately achieving the greatest work of her career restoring a lost Renaiisance book of erotica.

For anyone who has visited Florence and even the uninitiated, every page brings a joyful reunion with historic sites and neighbourhoods that still retain the vigor and glow sparked by the creative fire of the Renaissance.


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