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Every decade or so, a book comes along that is so inspiring, so mythical—so confusing—that I conclude the author is brilliant, mainly because I have no idea what he or she is talking about. By that measure, Italian author Marina Minghelli proves her brilliance by including 14 pages of explicatory notes in her poetic novel Medusa: The Fourth Kingdom, knowing we mortals otherwise wouldn’t have any idea what the hell she’s talking about. Part dissection of a Roman woman’s love life during the 1980s, part deconstructionist telling of Medusa’s coming of age (yes, that Medusa), Medusa makes breakup books like Animal Husbandry and The Girls’ Guide to Hunting and Fishing seem as profound as a bad-hair day: “I want a grown-up love…A partner, a companion who understands your heart, who can withstand your weapons. Two free beings joined together. A few drops aren’t enough for me I want the ocean.” Minghelli reads from Medusa at 6:30 p.m. at the Italian Cultural Institute, 1717 Massachusetts Ave. NW. Free. For reservations call (202) 387-5161. (Amanda Fazzone)