Adam Schell

Tomato Rhapsody: A Fable of Love, Lust and Forbidden Fruit

book_cover_mini

The Duke of Tuscany is missing, his chef is in a panic, an enormous priest the color of an eggplant has the entire village tongue-tied, and worst of all, a pair of newly countrified Ebreos from Florence have just rolled into market with a wagon full of Love Apples.

Thus begins the nearly, almost entirely true tale of Tomato Rhapsody, the story of how the tomato came to Italy. As one might imagine, it’s a story born from love – a forbidden love – between Davido, an Ebreo tomato farmer, and Mari, the Catholic stepdaughter of the town’s evil olive farmer. But it’s not only Davido and Mari who yearn for something. Nonno, Davido’s grandfather, who a half-century earlier came upon the tomato whilst voyaging with Columbus to the New World, has arranged the perfect marriage for his grandson to a girl whom Davido happens to abhor. Giuseppe, villainous stepfather of our heroine, has his eye trained on Mari’s virginity and Davido’s land. Caught in the middle of all these machinations is a village full of eccentrics and bumpkins who speak in rhyme, marvel at the size of a donkey’s cazzone, celebrate the Feast of the Drunken Saint and generally live a life untouched by the passage of time. Ah, but village life is about to change as wicked schemes, bizarre loyalties, hidden identities and murderous betrayals are revealed, forcing Davido, Mari and the entire village to confront that age-old dilemma: What does one make of tradition and religion in the face of true love?

With a nod to Shakespeare and Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Tomato Rhapsody is a delicious romance spun on its head: an epic, a feast, a farce that poetically – shamelessly – blurs the line between fact and myth, piety and profanity, history and sophistry in a story about the courage to pursue love and tomato sauce at all costs.