The year is 1950, Anno Santo, the Holy Year. A young man sets out on pilgrimage from Ireland. In Florence he meets a young American girl, who is also on a quest. Their exchanges, fast and furious, make a sly commentary on the cultures they come from, contrasted with postwar Florence. Montague's first novella, since Death of a Chieftain (1964), The Lost Notebook blends guide and fiction in an intriguing way and recalls the passion of some of his well-known love lyrics and his dark humour.John Montague, one of Ireland's leading poets, was born in Brooklyn, New York, in 1929 and was reared on a farm in County Tyrone. He was educated at St. Patrick's, Armagh, University College, Dublin, and at Yale and Berkeley Universities in America. He is currently on the staff of the English Department of University College, Cork, as Associate Professor. His published works include: Forms of Exile (1958), Poisoned Lands and Other Poems (1961), Death of a Chieftain (1964), Home Again (1966), Patriotic Suite (1966), A Chosen Light (1967), Tides (1970), The Rough Field (1972), The Faber Book of Irish Verse (1974), A Slow Dance (1975), The Great Cloak (1978), Selected Poems (1982) and The Dead Kingdom (1984).John Verling was born in Portlaw, County Waterford. He studied architecture in London but abandoned this career to become a self-taught artist. As a painter and as a ceramic and graphic artist, he has exhibited widely in Ireland and also in London. He is married and lives in Ballydehob, County Cork, with his wife and three children. He also illustrated The Midnight Court by Brian Merriman, which was translated by Cosslett O Cuinn, and Moloney Up and At It by Brendan Kennedy.