Girl in a Turban

Morazzoni has obviously studied and learned much about writing from such writers as Edgar Allan Poe, Leo Tolstoy, Gustave Flaubert, and early Henry James. As she shows in the first two stories here (“The White Door” and “The Dignity of Signor Da Ponte,” the first impressionistically portraying Mozart in his final days, and the second subtly unfolding one man’s humiliation by another), Morazzoni is admirably exacting of herself in depicting--without apparent strain--delicate modulations of light, sound, and mood. While she sometimes exposes a hesitant awkwardness when moving her narrative from one scene to another, she exhibits an exceptional grace in expressing the subtle nuances of changing or differing perceptions.

Yet that aspect of Morazzoni’s talent that precluded natural closures to the two above-mentioned stories, and left them seeming truncated, is magnified in “Girl in a Turban,” “The Last Assignment,” and--owing much to Tolstoy’s “The Death of Ivan Ilych"--"Order in the House.” That is, she possesses a novelist’s expansiveness in terms of scope, theme, and narrative pace. Besides demanding too much of her dialogue, often making it wooden as she burdens it with too much exposition, she tends to demand too much of the short-story form as she resists compression for the sake of her slow and subtle psychological explorations.

Morazzoni is a writer whose present work readers who value serious and artistic literature should read, and whose future work such readers should watch for. She is presently writing a novel, the form of fiction within which she will probably best realize her great potential.