Lisa Greco: Andrea Aguillard
Searching for answers is not always easy and they are never right in front of you. Some want riches, fame and an important position in a company and others are torn between remaining in a world filled with editing, books, deadlines and authors yet helping so many but not really feeling fulfilled. Freedom of choice to decide where you life and career are going does not come with a blueprint where you place everything you want to do and hope for in a neat square or triangle hoping to make it look like the perfect solution and just having to follow it to a T.
Lisa Greco works for Standard Publishing and is about to be offered the job of a lifetime when her boss, Kevin is about to retire. Recommending her for the job was a no brainer but what she does will start a chain of events that will change the course and direction of her life leaving her wondering where she will wind up at the end. Dreams take on different paths and being offered the job of executive editor to replace Kevin with a huge bump in pay and tons of responsibility should have made Lisa thrilled. But, an encounter in her favorite bar and bartender Sammie’s and meeting a tall dark stranger leads her on a path across the world to another continent, beautiful city and searching for the real Lisa, namely her roots, ancestry and more. Dapper Man she calls him and their short encounter changes it all for Lisa.
When asked why she was not celebrating her new job but he came at her with a really interesting statement: Sometimes we have to bump in the dark before you find where you’re going. The fact that she speaks Italian was the starting point for what came next as she has never been to Naples and as she continued her conversation something within Lisa snapped.
Instead of rushing to get to work the following day she got her nails done and then had a neck massage letting readers know that she might be late for her meeting with Kevin’s boss. Stopping to go to Sammie’s she meets the man again and heads for work after taking her sweet time to get there and realizes that she has tons of novels to read, a handful of heartwarming or thought provoking ones and some would be acquired and others rejected. Phyllis Graham is very austere and does not like anyone to hem and haw but wants straight answers. Lisa tells her she has to think about the job, gets two weeks off and then is heading for Italy. But, in chapter four we learn about her Italian past, her hears at Yale and then reminds us of she became a micromanager and reading scripts from 30 thousand word short stories to those over 600 thousand words. Counting her work days and looking forward to her trip she finds herself at a crossroads but first she visits Sammie at the bar and tells him she is headed for Hotel la Tripergola but first asks about a guy that was in the bar and gave her a gold pendant. Sammie has no idea or why he gave it to her but it will become apparent later on. Lisa is a second generation Italian-American and decides to use her heritage and her desire to learn more about her ancestry and past by going off to Italy and leaving her responsibilities behind. Always wanting to write her own novel and be her own boss you might say she heads off to the airport and lands at Leonardo Da Vinci airport and her adventure if about to begin. Realizing that she now makes her own daily plans, can meditate every morning, walk aimlessly wherever she wants Lisa feels her new job or life to be responsible to herself and no one else. Landing there she became mesmerized immediately and became assimilated in the beauty, architecture and the smells of the many different kinds of foods. Finding her lodging or Airbnb she was created by Fabio who would be her guide.
The many places she visits, the food that we can smell and taste as she savors the aromas while eating are just part of the story. Lisa becomes so engulfed in the cities, the museums and the people and then meets a Japanese Italian professor of math who is fluent in math but also has a great voice. He is considered an itinerant tenor who sings in clubs and is also searching for his roots and wants to make her part of his journey.
Ichiro is the man she meets and they talk about more than theoretical mathematics. The author and Ichiro share his past that he received his PhD at 19 after handing in a two place thesis entitled “E..F.” They talk about Hilbert Curves, Lindenmayer Systems and Archimedes Pilgrimage to the Labyrinth at Baia based on an article that he wrote. ON page 77 her illustrates his ideas and talks about the cave where it was hidden and was filled with debris in Archimedes time. But, not until 1950 was the entrance to the lost cave found and discovered by Amedeo Mairuri an Italian archeologist. He removed the debris but even today the work has yet to be completed. Asking how that relates to theoretical math he illustrates it on 77-78.
Ichiro Negroponte seemed to know so much about Naples and the birthplace of his father. She seemed ignited and her longing to know more made her think about her future and spending more time with him. Lisa felt free and unburdened for the first time and even slept late one morning. She loved the history, the folk songs and the fragrant bakeries.
So transfixed with her time there and Ichiro she wondered if this was just a dram and if he was even real! A professor of topology who came once a year to Naples to pursue ancient riddles and his hobby of opera and feeling that he did not have an ounce of practicality.
Comparing New York to Naples where in New York everyone was multi-tasking and in Naples everyone was doing just what they were doing and doing it fully she relates.
What would change her mind about returning to her life in New York and this prestigious position at Standard Publishing? Hearing from Kevin and then told if she does not return she has to resign did not change her feelings at all about whether to return or not. Knowing that Larry Thompson the author and attorney insisted that she be his editor at all costs or he will not sign with Standard, gave her some pause for thought.
This is a story about freedom, change, growth and taking a chance that somehow not conforming to the norm might change your life for the better. Lisa faced making a decision what would either ruin her life, her chances for happiness and success or take a long and hard long and decide which direction she was headed. Fabio her landlord took her around introduced her to people but when the date came for her to leave her lodgings he gave her the time, date and expected her to depart with no feelings or looking back in her direction.
Lisa had to decide in which direction to take the train but first enter the caves with her and Ichiro. Join Ichiro and Lisa on their journey into the caves at Baia and look at the ruins of a temple as they reach the entrance. Author Andrea Aguillard takes readers along with Lisa and Ichiro on a journey down into the maize of tunnels to experience something that most of us only dream of. A special pendant that she received before going on the trip and then on page 150 we learn more about it as it is the exact shape of both her pendant and his multiplied many-fold in ancient tile covered by a foot or two of crystal clear water. Breathtaking!
The next chapter takes them further into the cave but reality is about to set in as Kevin calls her and the truth was that Lisa was experiencing” pre-rejection jitters known only to writers-the absolute conviction that the work she’d submitted to Kevin would be met with ridicule and destroy any credibility she acquired for years. Lisa was writing her own novel and imagine submitting it to Standard and get a rejection. So, what does she decide to do when offered 125,000 dollars, 1/3 signing on delivery and 1/3 on publications, with an option for the next novel at the same rate? Plus an exit package of 125,000 payable upon signing and retaining full benefits as long as her books remain with Standard.
When the train goes just in which direction will Lisa travel: New York or remain in Naples? Freedom to be whatever she wants and take life’s riches and live without the constraints imposed on her at Standard or finding hope, joy and romance which just might be right in front of her. What would you do if you were Lisa Greco? Filled with research, interesting characters and an ending that will make you wonder what is next for Lisa and will her final destination be where she belongs.
Fran Lewis: Just reviews/MJ magazine
No comments yet.