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Book Reviews

Lady of the Cards

Two different voices tell this tale—they are the reverse and the obverse of the same coin. Separately they could be myth or even fantasy; together they form a disguised biography.

Lady of the Cards

Lady of the Cards

A Memoir in the Form of a Novel

Author: Rosita G. Fanto

322 pp. Xlibris

Author R.G. Fanto documents the intriguing relationship of publisher and artist, Rosita Fanto, and Richard Ellmann, famed biographer of W.B. Yeats, James Joyce and Oscar Wilde—and its aftermath in Lady of the Cards.

In this fascinating book, Fanto describes their meetings in Monaco, London, Oxford, and New York, the growth of their friendship, its flirtations with romance, and the developing tensions with Ellmann’s family who imagined that the artist and the writer had become lovers. Lady of the Cards chronicles the Ellmann-Fanto publication of the Oscar Wilde Playing Cards, the course of Ellmann’s debilitating illness—Lou Gehrig’s Disease, his death, and its legal and emotional consequences, focusing on his close relationship with “Rosita”(Fanto) at the end of his life.

The author shows how closeness in friendship needn’t be dependent on a physical side to a relationship, and how two people with very different backgrounds can become so intimate.