From the acclaimed author of Trinity Fields - a mesmerizing novel about desire, compulsion, and the uncovering of buried family secrets.


Hawthorne meets Hitchcock in Bradford Morrow's spellbinding new novel. GIOVANNI'S GIFT, to be published by Viking on February 20. At once a romance, a literary novel with the suspense of a classic gothic. and a vivid retelling of the Pandora's box myth, it takes up themes which Morrow has dealt with throughout his work - truth, betrayal. secrecy. transgression, the search for home -- and weaves them into a consuming read.

GIOVANNI'S GIFT opens as Grant, a thirty-three year old expatriate, leaves behind Rome and a crumbling marriage to return to the only home he has ever known -- Ash Creek, an isolated ranch high in the Rocky Mountains, where his uncle Henry and aunt Edme Fulton have lived for years a seemingly idyllic existence. But now, for no apparent reason , violent nightime disturbances - the pandemonium of raucous music, lights in the starlit fields -- have ruptured their hard-won peace, and Grant has come to see how he can help.

It's not long after Grant's arrival that he experiences his first encounter with the night visitors, and he quickly surmises that something is more wrong at Ash Creek than he might have suspected. Three years earlier, the mudlated body of Giovanni Trentas, the beloved caretaker of the ranch and dearest friend of the Fultons, had been found in a gorge high above the house. Though his death remained unexplained, Edme had always harbored her suspicions, and had secreted away Giovanni's most precious possession, an old cigar box wrapped in ribbons. The morning after a particularly ominous disturbance, Edme presents the box to Grant, with a Pandora-like proviso.

Quickly succumbing to temptation, Grant is at first disappointed at the evidently meaningless collection of trinkets, letters, and photos contained within the box. But as he begins gradually to puzzle out the possible meanings of its contents, he finds that he has unleashed a whole set of secrets from the past, decades of secrets whose holders - including the taciturn Henry, Graham Tate, a wealthy landowner who has had a long standing enmity with Henry, and Willa, Tate's wife - wanted no one to know, and which may explain much more than Giovanni's death. As Grant meets, and quickly finds himself falling in love with, the daughter of Giovanni, the hauntingly beautiful and enigmatic Helen Trentas, and as the night visits escalate in their terror and intensity, Grant becomes an unwitting catalyst, bringing matters so long left tangled towards their resolution. As "Giovanni's gift' is solved, he finds a way to accept himself and to get on with his life, achieving a better understanding of both the burden and the responsibility of belonging somewhere.

In shimmering, beautifully cadenced sentences which continually surprise with their content while holding the reader rapt with their cumulative tension, Morrow plays inevitability against shock in this compelling and profoundly American novel. At once contemporary and classic, and written with Morrow's prowess for evoking both the memorable landscapes of the West and those of the heart and mind, GIOVANNI'S GIFT is a masterly achievement by one of the most respected novelists of his generation.