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A young woman arrives in Sainr from Boston, knowing no one and speaking little Italian. But Hannah is isolated in a more profound way, Personal sex ad Saint Florence from her own identity after a bout with starvation that has left her life and body in ruins. From the first page, your novel has an immediate transporting effect. How do you know Florence so well? What made you want to set Florence in Ecstasy there? Have you heard of Stendhal Syndrome? Symptoms include rapid heartbeat, dizziness, fainting, hallucinations.

I think that Florence as a Flroence inspires that kind of response—it overwhelms you with beauty and history.

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It speaks straight to your soul. I experienced it when I studied abroad in Florence years ago in college—the city took hold of me. After that, I visited whenever I could and then received a Fulbright grant to live there for a year to research the lives of af female saints—who experienced their own kind of ecstasies. One of the things I love most about Florence is the way Florenec the past intermingles with the present. Whatever Personal sex ad Saint Florence was studying—language, history, religion, art history, cooking—was immediately available Fuck red Pireas my day to day in a way Personal sex ad Saint Florence was tangible and visceral, and also integrated.

So like many writers and artists before me, Florence inspired me and it continues to inspire me. Hannah goes to Italy to recover Saunt an eating disorder, but Florence is decadent with excess—not only food and wine, but sex, art, history. Why set a book with starvation at its center in a country famous for its insatiable insistence on life?

Florence is a city of decadence.


So Florence, and Italy in general, offers Hannah a different way of being simply by challenging those extremes, and especially, of course, the extremes of her Personal sex ad Saint Florence with food. And, of course, that Florence is a city filled with history, food, bodies, and beauty makes it an interesting—and complicated—backdrop for a woman who is fleeing her history and her body. One of the first things Hannah does after she arrives is to join the Florence rowing club.

What is the importance of the club, and the experience of rowing? Because Florence runs on tourism, you could spend weeks there and not get off the well-worn routes or connect with the people who live there. Ironically, the club is directly underneath the Uffizi Gallery, one of Personal sex ad Saint Florence most visited sites in the city, but it is a different world, and one that is dominated by Florentines. I wanted Hannah to descend into this kind of underworld out of curiosity and also as a way of saving Swint.

Personal sex ad Saint Florence

Sex partner Santa rosa for free the club allows her to connect with the members and rejoin society, especially when she becomes Persohal with one of the men there. Most importantly, though, I Persoanl to have Hannah reconnect with her own body, which she is Personal sex ad Saint Florence at war with. Rowing requires peace of mind, balance, and connection. The only way to hold a straight line is to be centered—in your body and your mind—to be, in some sense, at one with yourself and the boat and the water.

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So the rowing club makes Hannah more vulnerable—physically, when she is out on the water, and emotionally, as Personal sex ad Saint Florence connects with the other club members. Hannah starts to study the lives of female saints and discovers the long history of women who starved themselves for God.

I was stunned Women seeking casual sex Atkinson Illinois what I found when I first visited myself—literal pieces of the saint.

Her mummified head and her finger are on display in glass cases inside the basilica. Catherine is one of the most well known saints, and for good reason. She was born in the 12th century to a middle Saing family who expected her to marry.

Instead, she rebelled and devoted her life to God. She shaved her head, slept on a board, stopped eating, prayed incessantly, wore a chain with small hooks around her waist that would draw blood, and eventually grew so ill that her parents consented to her entering the church. You can imagine Wahpeton pussy that fucking kind power such visions would have given her.

And she used that power and became politically active, even traveling to France Pesonal convince Personal sex ad Saint Florence Pope to return to Rome. That this young woman in the Middle Ages could have so altered the trajectory of her life and become one of the central figures of the church is astounding to me.

At the same time, her celebrity was also due to af behavior. She drank Personal sex ad Saint Florence from the sores of the sick during the plague, she had people jab her with needles when she was in a trance, and she practiced extreme fasting.

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She died at the young age of 33, likely from starvation, as the only thing she consumed besides water was the communion. The first images of Lady wants real sex FL Port orange 32127. Catherine that she sees—in that same basilica in Siena—are frescoes that she relates to right away.

Pefsonal one image, St. Catherine is healing a woman possessed by demons—the woman is writhing Personal sex ad Saint Florence the ground underneath Floreence saint, who Pegsonal stoically above her.

In the second fresco, St. Catherine is in an ecstatic state; she looks like she herself is possessed. Hannah, who has experience her own kind of ecstasy, Personal sex ad Saint Florence clarity, through starvation wonders which of these women she is—the calm saint or the madwoman? Catherine in ecstasy, or the woman possessed?

And in that moment, she feels a profound connection with St. This is not a novel about a woman finding religion, but the saints help Hannah understand her relationship with anorexia in a way that no one else has been able to. Who are some of the saints you Personal sex ad Saint Florence in your research for the novel that you find especially intriguing? Definitely St Catherine, who Da just mentioned, but also two lesser known, but still extraordinary, women. She became incredibly popular among women, who connected with her story, and that popularity inspired her canonization.

Rita is also the saint of the impossible—impossible because on her deathbed, she asked one of her sisters to bring her a rose from her childhood garden in near Cascia in Umbria. It was the middle of winter, but still there was a fresh rose growing. Agatha is also fascinating. She was an early Christian martyr from Catania, Sicily. She was tortured by the Romans and they ultimately cut off Personal sex ad Saint Florence breasts.

In Catania, there are images of her everywhere holding her breasts on a plate, and even pastries shaped like breasts in her honor. I attended the annual festival celebrating her, and I was amazed by the transformation of Catania. A million people—almost all Italian—were there to watch as a carriage holding an effigy of the saint was dragged up and down the hills of Catania, Personal sex ad Saint Florence by hundreds of devotees for three days straight.

Children performed skits about her life, teens carried lit candles equal to their body weights, there were multiple huge fireworks displays, and the Benedictine nuns—enclosed for the rest of the year—came out to sing for Agatha as the carriage passed. I tried to imagine what it would be like to be a young woman in that city where the most important day of the year celebrates not a man, but a woman, almost two thousand years after her death. Why did you want to write about a woman with Personal sex ad Saint Florence eating disorder?

Even though Florence in Ecstasy centers on a Sex dating in Vidor struggling with an eating disorder, I hope that it Personal sex ad Saint Florence speak to anyone who has struggled to find meaning and who has found themselves alienated from their lives because of addiction, depression, unhealthy relationships, or just the inevitable challenges in life that threaten to upend us.

At its core, this is a book about the experience of losing yourself, and of trying to rebuild out of the wreckage, whatever the cause. Do you have a personal experience with an eating disorder? Are there any other novels that deal with an eating disorder that you are aware of? Yes, it was something I experienced myself.

I was an adult. I had made it through Personal sex ad Saint Florence teenaged and college years having always had a fairly healthy relationship with food and my body, and so suddenly Lady wants sex GA Poulan 31781 myself struggling with anorexia was completely unexpected and terrifying, and Personal sex ad Saint Florence embarrassing because I felt I Florwnce too old for this kind of illness.

I went to where I always go for answers—literature. But most of the fiction was built on an assumption—and one I had shared prior to Saitn own experience—that eating disorders only affect a certain kind of person: We live in a culture that is obsessed with the body and with beauty, and body image issues and disordered eating are pervasive—they affect women and men of all ages.

Yet there are few novels that grapple with these disorders head-on, and even fewer that go beyond the understanding of them as a modern, adolescent phenomenon to explore their broader prevalence and longer history.

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It was important to me, for example, that my protagonist ac be a teenager or a young adult. And almost without fail, eex will be someone—and Personal sex ad Saint Florence several people—who approach me afterward Wife swapping in Paynes creek CA share their own experience with an eating disorder.

I want this book to reach those people. It is the book that I was looking for when I almost disappeared, and I hope that it might help other disappearing women and men to find their way back to themselves. The greatest challenge for Hannah is letting go of the disorder because, like so many addictions, it is seductive, it is a relationship—an abusive relationship, but a relationship nonetheless.

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Hannah needs something to replace that misplaced desire. While the title is a nod to the saints, it is also about an ecstasy that Persoonal spiritual in a broader sense, and a kind of ecstasy of place—in this case, Florence.

And it is that connectedness that gives her a glimpse of the possibility Personal sex ad Saint Florence finding ecstasy, of finding meaning, of finding herself outside of and without the disorder. A Florennce with Jessie Chaffee, Personal sex ad Saint Florence of Florence in Ecstasy From the first page, your novel has an immediate transporting effect.