John L’Heureux’s “luminous prose, swift narrative, love of art history and cool eye for human weakness make this one a pleasure to read.” Read the full May 4, 2014 review by Patrick Anderson in The Washington Post

“On the basis of Donatello’s great statue of David, and against the background of the witchhunt against gay men in 15th-century Florence, John L’Heureux has built a gripping story of love, genius, and betrayal.”
–JM Coetzee

“A novel bursting with love — collegial, artistic and erotic. John L’Heureux brings to life the bliss and treachery of the Italian Renaissance through prose as passionate as his characters. Deeply enjoyable, THE MEDICI BOY soars like an operatic aria, before breaking our hearts.”
— David Henry Hwang

“Lust, envy, greed.  Pride.  Wrath.  Set John L’Heureux loose in 15thcentury Florence; give him Donatello, Cosimo de Medici, a royal flush of deadly sins, and a boy too handsome for his own good, and watch a master at work, and at play.  There is no time and no place and no human transaction that L’Heureux can’t plunder to assemble the kind of novel his fans expect, and his fans-to-be have never before encountered.  Luminous, intelligent, funny, shocking, and, yes: revelatory.”
— Kathryn Harrison, New York Times Bestselling Author, ENVY, THE BINDING CHAIR

Immensely appealing, viscerally gripping, and unfailingly human in its characters, L’Heureux’s most recent novel beckons with the undeniable promise of great writing to all lovers of historical literary fiction that easily manages to transcend its time parameters. In the early fifteenth century, a young Italian boy, Luca Mattei, tries his hand at the priesthood but fails miserably when he realizes the temptations of the flesh supersede his godly devotions. He finds instead his path set for the bottega, or workshop, of the great artisan Donatello, in Florence. Donatello proves to be a mercurial master, prone to fits of artistic temper as well as moments of great kindness. Luca’s relationship with Donatello shifts over the years, finally meeting its greatest challenge when Donatello’s longing for Luca’s ostensible brother, the enchanting model Agnolo, creates unexpected yet inevitable upheaval in each of their lives. Notable for its impeccable details about the exquisite art and brutal politics of early 1400s Italy, this is also a thoroughly researched musing on the vagaries, peccadilloes, and redemptions of people regardless of era. Expansive yet precisely written, L’Heureux’s work will long linger in the reader’s mind.
— Julie Trevelyan, Booklist

“A writer who picks up his readers by the scruff of the neck and won’t let go.”
–Chicago Tribune

“A deeply ambitious novelist, one who isn’t afraid of dealing with dark themes and what it means to be fully human, especially in the frightening and ecstatic world we create behind the darkened bedroom walls.”
–New York Times Book Review

“L’Heureux’s efforts to weave myth., extremity, and a religious note into modern urban and suburban settings are high risk. The result is powerful and original.”
–The Los Angeles Times Book Review

Video review by David Vann posted on