Monday Afternoon

General Fiction

By Stephen Sangirardi

Publisher : Night Publishing

ABOUT Stephen Sangirardi

Stephen Sangirardi
I am a retired New York English teacher who has published two previous volumes of short stories - 'The Geometers of Intellect' and 'Life on the Planet'.


Monday Afternoon is the story of Angelo Aiello, dissatisfied husband of Alice, loving father of Sophia, troubled Italian Roman Catholic and committed New Yorker who, after fifteen years of a grindingly deteriorating marriage, accidentally meets his exact match in the Stamford Nature Center in Connecticut (the state which appropriately describes itself as being 'full of surprises').

The woman he meets, Monica Richardson, is in her thirties, beautiful, smart, playful, vulnerable and, above all, a fellow English teacher with a relish for all things literary and deconstructionist.

Whereas Alice, Angelo's wife, despises his writing, Monica adores it; whereas Alice spurns Angelo's intellectualising of his dreams, Monica pitches in alongside him even before her first cup of coffee (but not before their first love-making).

But what about Angelo's daughter, Sophia? What about Angelo's parents? What about Angelo's mother-in-law to whom he has made a devout promise? What about Alice who has already had a nervous breakdown when her sister died of AIDS?

This is therefore the story of a love affair, of an adultery, of a sudden opportunity for both salvation and damnation, of a man torn between a future ideal and a historic reality.

And the writing is so intense, it is a coup de foudre for us all.

Asked to write some information about how I came to write my novel, I must be very frank about three things. Two years ago, my friend and the Editor of Wild Leaf Press, Bill Hunter, gave me some advice about writing a novel. Bill said that what sells today in America is sex, death, and violence. Monday Afternoon has plenty of the first two ingredients without being pornographic and morbid. I am the eternal English teacher who can’t resist a literary allusion or two and the flourishing sentence. Secondly, the adultery of the main character is the author’s wish fulfillment. Since for a numbers of reasons I have not sinned in the flesh, I decided to sin in this book. In my younger days I spent a lot of time at the Stamford Nature Center in Connecticut; hence, this is where Angelo meets Monica. It’s a lot more convenient to cheat on one’s wife in fiction rather than in the flesh. I’d recommend it to all husbands when the thrill with marriage deliquesces. It is the difference between the menu and the meal; the menu is safer, akin to Shakespeare’s exploration of murder in his plays, such as Othello and Hamlet, in lieu of actual murder. A lot less messy I should think.

Margaret Anthony, author of ‘The Spirit Of The Butterfly’:

I've not read anything like this for some time. This is such intelligent writing to be read and savored, not a word should be missed. Clearly you love language and introduce me certainly to words I must ponder over whilst enjoying the richness of this beautifully written vocabulary and intriguing story.


Comment from Caroline Hartman, author of ‘Summer Rose’:

My senses filled up a few paragraphs after they met. They certainly spoke the language of literature and I'm sure they, at first, feel they've gone to heaven. What a premise.


Comment from Ashen Venema, author of ‘Course Of Mirrors’:

Angelo who takes in the world through literary references meets his match. Quick-witted, sensitive, he knows how to give empathy but receives none from his wife, maybe because his empathy for her was exhausted. Habit has a habit of doing this. But there is conscience. When love becomes more important than any moral code a man has a problem. This is a delicate exploration conveying the excitement of a rare resonance – often feared and repressed because we can’t control its stay.


Comment from Robert Ellal, author of ‘By These Things Men Live’:

I felt both uncomfortable and comforted by reading your work. It reminded me of me, a long time ago, flush with the drama of being a literary man--and becoming entranced by a beautiful literary woman. Brilliant ripostes between us with no explanation needed.


Comment by Tim Roux, managing editor of Night Publishing:

The scene of Angelo meeting and falling in lust / love with Monica is as visceral a description of the physiology of enchantment as I have ever encountered in literature. It verges on the multi-sensory.


Comment from Carrie L. McRae, author of ‘Things That Break’:

This is a really well written book; the language he uses is very sophisticated and mature and the characters are also very believable.