The Boston Castrato

By Colin W. Sargent

Category: Fiction, Historical, LGBT+

Formats available: Paperback, Ebook

Pages: 304

Publication date: 03/03/16

ISBN-13: 9781909954205

ISBN-10: 1909954209

What E. L Doctorow’s Ragtime did for New York, The Boston Castrato does for Boston. A modern American
classic, set in the 1920s Boston of gangsters, high society, and the wild crew who surround the poet Amy Lowell.
From high poetry to low skulduggery, the city builds and takes shape around Raffi. Exiled from Rome as the last
castrato, he journeys on a quest for love and understanding.
‘In exuberant and yet precise prose, Colin Sargent conjures a sweeping tale of love, murder,and revenge.’ – Christina Baker Kline, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Orphan Train
‘Masterful command of language. A rare book, one that will settle into the soul for a lifetime.’ – Morgan Callan Rogers, author, Red Ruby Heart in a Cold Blue Sea



The Boston Castrato's real strengths lie in its characterization and how it weaves together subplots. Strong portrayals of crooked pols, hit men, imposters, gangsters, aspiring singers, and psychics barrel on to their dramatic conclusions.

- Eve Ottenberg, Washington City Paper

To say that The Boston Castrato is Colin W Sargent's interpretation of the great American novel writ small is no criticism. By focusing largely on a specific location in a single year, and compressing the narrative into less than 300 pages, Sargent amplifies the tumult of individual lives as a reflection of the dominating forces of migration, crime and cultural experimentation that define them. The author provides a fast-moving and evocative sequence of interlocking events that generate a sense of the pace of the dislocation within the US melting pot. The Boston Castrato stews up a brilliant, compelling and quite stunningly repulsive blend of characters, situations and dilemmas. The land of seeming opportunity is revealed as just another tawdry laboratory of exploitation. So much about the modern US is explained here, not in a didactic manner but on its own, lying and exaggerated terms. Fiction tells the truths than mere facts cannot. Apparently, this book was considered so subversive that no US imprint would touch it. Yet it has real literary value and it is to the credit of Barbican Press that we can read such an extraordinary literary expression of the American nightmare.

- Paul SImon - Morning Star

Colin W. Sargent

Novelist Colin W. Sargent is the author of The Boston Castrato and Museum of Human Beings. He is the founding editor and publisher of Portland Magazine. A graduate of the United States Naval Academy, he has an MFA from Stonecoast and a PhD in Creative Writing from Lancaster University. He teaches writing at William & Mary.