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These two novellas are prose divertimentos, creating intellectual fun in the playful way they juggle themes, characters, plots, and ideas. In "Lorenzo's Book, " the priest who aided the starcrossed lovers in Romeo and Juliet tells the tale the way it "really" happened. The action is driven by the selfish plots of a clever Rosaline, a dull and clumsy Romeo, a spirited and lustful Juliet, and a bawdily Machiavellian Lorenzo, whose manipulations of the others change as rapidly as his goals, which range from becoming Cardinal of Venice to having Juliet for himself. In "Luke's Book, " Measure for Measure is relocated to the Old West. The New Mexico territory serves as the backdrop for this quick-witted musing on the values of the western frontier.
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