A Tale of Tenn and Frank
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Published in: May-June 2019 issue.


Leading Men
by Christopher Castellani
Viking. 357 pages, $27.


THIS NOVEL tells the story of the relationship between Tennessee Williams and his lover Frank Merlo. Set mainly during their time in Italy in 1953, Christopher Castellani’s Leading Men also offers glimpses of Frank’s future, suffering and dying from lung cancer. In a fascinating interweaving of history and fiction, one of their friends from their Italian adventures, actress Anja Bloom, now retired and living in New York City, meets a young man with a connection to another friend from that time, who reveals that Tennessee Williams’ final play was written expressly for her. It is a touching look at creativity, love, and friendship.

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         With compelling characters and a beautifully described setting, Leading Men offers a loving yet honest look at Tennessee Williams and his world through the eyes of those who loved him best.


Charles Green is a writer based in Annapolis, Maryland.