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- During my travels through Basque Spain, I devoured TRIPLE SEC. I was reading “The Vital Impulse” and “The Blue Hours” for the second time, and the stories lost none of their potency. In fact, my experience of Roccasalvo’s stories was further enriched by my New York encounter with the author, having visited his urban oasis. I saw where he drew the inspiration for Juro Roshido, the artist and mentor who lives “above it all” in his Japanese style haven. With his prose Roccasalvo transports me to that timeless space between consciousness and reality that I usually visit through mathematics. I look forward to future encounters with the author, be they in person or through his novels.
- TRIPLE SEC is really beautiful. The first story, "The Vital Impulse," still haunts me. It reminds me of my favorite Neruda poem, "Tonight I can Write the Saddest Lines." What delights me about Roccasalvo's stories is that they're erudite but still accessible. Though the subjects and ideas are profound, often historical, they encourage me to further study. Then there are his words that appeal to all my senses. They're not just about love or lovemaking. The images he paints with touch my palate as well as my eyes and ears. He's a very sensuous writer.
From The Vital Impulse:
“I’m not one to declare myself, Nick, but you’re never far from my heart.”
“How can you say that and still walk away?”
“I need to understand how I got here. Otherwise, I’ll keep repeating.”
“Let me help you.”
“That’s the point. I need to do it alone.”
“You read me so well, there’s no place to hide. I can’t see myself in your light. It’s too intense.”
“Clarity is what I do best.”
“That’s your choice, Nick, not mine. I’m consoled by shadows.”
“Laura, I’m not trying to judge you.”
“Your presence is judgment enough. It’s not easy being near. Like the photos you take, you’re so focused. You get what you want and finish what you start. The world will end before you do.”
From Sign of the Archer:
After Priya had left him, Justin lingered at table. He wasn’t sure what disturbed him more, the assignment or her presence. It was easy to listen to her mellow voice bordering on contralto. More than the voice was her Eurasian background; it so focused his attention he could think of nothing else. He recalled the words of Taormina’s mayor, how a woman of Asian background might challenge his single state.
“Make sure the mother is Italian,” he admonished and gave the clincher: “She’ll offer inscrutability joined to sensuality.” He had failed to add: “If she’s gifted with intelligence and beauty, you’ll find yourself yielding effortlessly.”
It was Priya’s sensuality that rattled him, for he knew the Italian side always won. Her undulant feline grace was like a perceptible siren sounding in the distance.
From The Blue Hours:
I escorted her to the tea house and saw her to the door. She flashed a shy smile of gratitude and reached for a card. On it were embossed her name and address.
“Come tomorrow at noon,” she said and vanished into her other world. So my tutoring in love began. It’s not suitable—and may even be unseemly—to go into particulars. I’m loath to fire a young man’s imagination with images. But I never tire of saying truth is in the detail. I will try to be circumspect. Within minutes of entering her apartment the next day, we were drawn to each other like magnets. Taking her in my arms, I kissed her and realized even then that she brought to my lips a sensual softness that compared to your generation’s roughhouse intimacy is like cashmere to burlap.
“Every second day at high noon, I found in her embrace the realm of the spirit and that plane of sexual tension looking for release. If my remarks embarrass you, it’s because you’ve not learned how to instill animal instinct with angelic fervor so that both have merged in the overlap. She remained childlike even when I felt her rapid breath, the quickening pulse, and that shudder in the loins at our final exertion.”