colin08Colin W. Sargent, Ph.D., is the founding editor & publisher of Portland Monthly magazine as well as a novelist, playwright, and poet. He teaches writing at The College of William and Mary. His novel The Boston Castrato (Barbican Press, London) has just been released in the U.S.: ‘A heartrending, deep, rip-roaring novel…The Boston Castrato is destined to be a modern classic, a novel that captures 1920s Boston through the eye of a young Italian castrato seeking love.’
–Barbican Press

A graduate of the United States Naval Academy, Sargent has been awarded the Maine individual artist fellowship in literature, a Stonecoast MFA in creative writing, and a Ph.D. in creative writing from Lancaster University in the UK. His screenplay Montebello Ice is under option at Gideon Films. A past board member of the literacy organization Maine Reads, the Portland, Maine, resident guides Portland Monthly to stories that specialize in extraordinary perspective. “Beyond the usual.” –MediaBistro. Museum of Human Beings was his first novel. According to Publishers Weekly, “Playwright Sargent’s debut novel is a stylish look at the fate of Sacagawea’s baby son, Jean Baptiste Charbonneau… An impressively rounded portrait of the laid-back, introspective, nomadic Baptiste, this novel will satisfy fans of American history.”

‘Barbican Press is honoured to launch Colin W. Sargent’s The Boston Castrato – a modern classic in the making. This book does for 1920s Boston what E.L. Doctorow did for New York in Ragtime: it grabs a city out of history, mixes in some fiction and makes it vivid. Be it the high style of Boston’s Parker House Hotel; the flagrant, fragrant set who dance attendance on the poet Amy Lowell; the scientists and shipbuilders and politicians and utter rogues who raise the city from the dirt; it all shimmers into reality as an outsider leads us into its quaking heart.

‘Raffi, a young Italian, is our guide. He left more than his country behind in Rome. Snipped by a bishop as the last castrato, he is bundled off to America when the Church takes shame. Forbidden to use his voice, other skills steal him into the society of 1920s Boston. Raffi enters the hardest quest of all – the search for a genuine love song.’

–Barbican Press; visit

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The Boston Castrato

Wicked shards of humor and sophisticated, astonishing word play reminiscent of James Joyce’s Ulysses make up the heart of this incandescent novel by Colin Sargent. The Boston Castrato chaperones its readers through early 20th century Boston’s nine circles of hell, led by Alighieri’s Dante and Virgil in the guise of an Italian Neapolitan castrato, Raffi, and his guide, a blind dishwasher named Victor. And, of course, there is a Beatrice, and a devil, and all manner of historical Boston figures, both famous and infamous. Sargent’s masterful command of the language, his respect for affairs of the heart, and his playful pokes at some of Boston’s bad-ass Brahmins combine to make this 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

As a child in Italy in the early 20th century, Rafaele Peach is castrated by a priest who wants to preserve and exploit his beautiful voice. But the practice has fallen out of favor, and Raffi is exiled to the U.S., where he makes his way to Boston
and falls in with “a circle of misfits, dreamers, and strays.” Raffi’s picaresque adventures take
him from the highest echelons of society to the mobsters, schemers and charlatans who occupy the
bottom rungs. 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


                                       Antic and episodic, The Boston Castrato is as hilarious as it is compassionate,
intriguing and wise, the prose finely honed, and its metaphoric richness rendering
even the darkest, zaniest scenes with a haunting tenderness. Colin Sargent
is a fearless and generous writer, and his blend of humor and pathos
takes the reader into both the heart of this story, and into the lives
of these deeply imagined and unforgettable characters who inhabit it.
Jack Driscoll, author of The World of a Few Minutes Ago

                                                                                   The Boston Castrato is an aria performed with brio by a virtuoso novelist.
                                                                               –Lewis Turco, poet and author of The Book of Forms

                                                                                           This is gorgeous–I am blown away by this novel.
                                                                                       –Michael Kimball, London Times bestseller authorUndone