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The Saint of Lost Things: A Novelby Christopher Castellani
Synopses & Reviews
It is 1953 in the tight-knit Italian neighborhood in Wilmington, Delaware. Maddalena Grasso has lost her country, her family, and the man she loved by coming to America; her mercurial husband, Antonio, has lost his opportunity to realize the American Dream; their new friend, Guilio Fabbri, a shy accordion player, has lost his beloved parents.
In the shadow of St. Anthony's Church, named for the patron saint of lost things, the prayers of these troubled but determined people are heard, and fate and circumstances conspire to answer them in unforeseeable ways.
With great authenticity and immediacy, The Saint of Lost Things evokes a bittersweet time in which the world seemed more intimate and knowable, and the American Dream simpler, nobler, and within reach.
"Castellani explores the lives of Italian-American immigrants in this eloquent, leisurely tale about dreams and disappointments, a follow-up to his debut novel, A Kiss from Maddalena. Here, Castellani picks up Maddalena Grasso's story in 1953, when she is seven years settled in Wilmington, Del., but 'always crying, always looking backward.' She left her beloved Italian village for America, imagining that she and her new husband, Antonio, would live the American dream, but Antonio's ambition of owning a restaurant remains just out of reach, and beautiful Maddalena, once an aspiring actress and model, now sews piecework, pining for the family she left behind. Maddalena befriends Guilio, a lonely, middle-aged accordion player mired in grief since the death of his elderly parents, and they eventually help each other find the courage to move past their own regrets. (She finds hope in a long-awaited pregnancy, though she will face a difficult labor.) By structuring much of the novel in flashback — albeit to reflect Maddalena's mentality — Castellani slows the story's momentum, but the natural, easy beauty of his prose captures the Italian-American immigrant community of a bygone era. Agent, Mary Evans. (Sept.)" Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"Not exactly a big romantic finish, but those who appreciate clear-eyed, unsentimental fiction will find its realism fresh and moving." Kirkus Reviews
"Castellani skillfully captures the Italian immigrant experience at mid-20th century....his lovely, haunting, unhurried story will have readers clamoring for more." Library Journal
"Beautifully, and movingly, Castellani shows an uncanny empathy for the American immigrant experience." Julia Glass, author of The Three Junes
"A lovely novel filled with characters so fully realized that they...leave the fog of their breath on the page." Julia Alvarez, author of In the Time of the Butterflies
With great authenticity and immediacy, Castellani evokes a bittersweet time in which the world seemed more intimate and knowable, and the American Dream simpler, nobler, and within reach.
About the Author
Christopher Castellani is the author of A Kiss from Maddalena, which won the Massachusetts Book Award for Best Work of Fiction and was a Book Sense Top Ten pick in hardcover and in paperback, a national selection of the Readers Club of America, a Barnes & Noble Online Book Club pick, and a Borders Original Voices selection. A graduate of Swarthmore College with an M.F.A. from Boston University, he is the head instructor at Grub Street, a nonprofit creative writing center. He lives in Arlington, Massachusetts.
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