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A Thread of Grace: A Novel

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A Thread of Grace: A Novel Cover

 

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

Set in Italy during the dramatic finale of World War II, this new novel is the first in seven years by the bestselling author of The Sparrow and Children of God.

It is September 8, 1943, and fourteen-year-old Claudette Blum is learning Italian with a suitcase in her hand. She and her father are among the thousands of Jewish refugees scrambling over the Alps toward Italy, where they hope to be safe at last, now that the Italians have broken with Germany and made a separate peace with the Allies. The Blums will soon discover that Italy is anything but peaceful, as it becomes overnight an open battleground among the Nazis, the Allies, resistance fighters, Jews in hiding, and ordinary Italian civilians trying to survive.

Mary Doria Russell sets her first historical novel against this dramatic background, tracing the lives of a handful of fascinating characters. Through them, she tells the little-known but true story of the network of Italian citizens who saved the lives of forty-three thousand Jews during the war's final phase. The result of five years of meticulous research, A Thread of Grace is an ambitious, engrossing novel of ideas, history, and marvelous characters that will please Russell's many fans and earn her even more.

Review:

"Busy, noisy and heartfelt, this sprawling novel by Russell — a striking departure from her previous two acclaimed SF thrillers, The Sparrow and Children of God — chronicles the Italian resistance to the Germans during the last two years of WWII. Three cultures mingle uneasily in Porto Sant'Andrea on the Ligurian coast of northwest Italy — the Italian Jews of the village, headed by the chief rabbi Iacopo Soncini; the Italian Catholics, like Sant'Andrea's priest Don Osvaldo Tomitz, who befriend and shelter the Jews; and the occupying Germans invited by Mussolini's crumbling regime. In the last camp is the drunken, tubercular Nazi deserter, Doktor Schramm, a broken man who confesses to Don Osvaldo that while working in state hospitals and Auschwitz, he was responsible for murdering 91,867 people. Meanwhile, Jewish refugees in southern France, including Albert Blum and his teenage daughter, Claudette, are fleeing across the Alps to Italy, hoping to find sanctuary there. Russell pursues numerous narrative threads, including the Blums' perilous flight over the mountains; Italian Jew Renzo Leoni's personal coming to terms with his participation in the Dolo hospital bombing during the Abyssinian campaign in 1935; the dangerous frenzy of the Italian partisans; and the bloody-mindedness of German officers resolved to carry out Hitler's murderous racial policy despite mounting evidence of its futility. The action moves swiftly, with impressive authority, jostling dialogue, vibrant personalities and meticulous, unexpected historical detail. The intensity and intimacy of Russell's storytelling, her sharp character writing and fierce sense of humor bring fresh immediacy to this riveting WWII saga. Agent, Jane Dystel. (Feb. 1) Forecast: This is a worthy successor to high-caliber, crowd-pleasing WWII novels like Corelli's Mandolin or The English Patient. With the publisher firmly behind it — Russell will embark on a 12-city author tour — expect substantial sales. " Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) (Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information, Inc.)

Review:

"Essential reading for people who love Italy. You will lose yourself completely in this ecumenical epic of Italians working together to save Jewish refugees during the German Occupation of 1943–1944. Russell has a deep empathy for her characters and writes with genius about the horrors of guerrilla war. This wholly absorbing historical novel ends with perhaps the most moving coda in fictional history." Susan Cahill, author/editor of Desiring Italy and The Smiles of Rome

Review:

"Fans of Mary Doria Russell's The Sparrow and Children of God will be thrilled by her masterful new novel. A Thread of Grace is a rich, multi-layered narrative that offers fresh insight into a devastating time in world affairs. A story of love and war, it speaks to the resilience and beauty of the human spirit in the midst of unimaginable horror. It is, unquestionably, a literary triumph." David Morrell, author of The Brotherhood of the Rose and First Blood

Review:

"Mary Doria Russell's fans (and aren't we all?) will rejoice to see her new novel on the shelves. A Thread of Grace is as ambitious, beautiful, tense, and transforming as any of us could have hoped." Karen Joy Fowler, author of The Jane Austen Book Club

Review:

"[T]he author's emotional commitment to her characters is such that they soon grow on you, transcending cliché and laying claim to your heart....Mary Doria Russell's novel is...rich and broad and intricately figured — and in its design there is a glint of something like hope." BookReporter.com

Review:

"Russell's characters were slow to come to life, and dialogue in the opening chapters was stiff. But as the pages rolled by, her people did come to life, without exception becoming more complex and more interesting. The writing, too, began to strike sparks." San Jose Mercury News

Review:

"Russell is a smart, passionate and imaginative writer, and there wasn't a moment when I wanted to set this book aside. It's a vivid account of northern Italy during World War II." Cleveland Plain Dealer

Review:

"[A]n emotionally wrenching experience. Russell has succeeded in vividly and memorably evoking the hardships, dangers, sufferings and sorrows of wartime life in Nazi-occupied Italy in a somber, profoundly moving book that engages the heights and depths of human experience." Los Angeles Times

Review:

"Densely populated, well-plotted novel, which is thick with intersecting plots and characters — most of them both colorful and memorable." Seattle Times

Review:

"[A] rich, rewarding, and well-researched tale of WWII....Beautiful, noble, fascinating, and almost unbearably sad." Kirkus Reviews

Review:

"[A]n expansive, well-researched, and compelling novel....Russell is good at presenting the human story while never using the war merely as a backdrop for personal dramas." Booklist

Synopsis:

In September 1943, fourteen-year-old Claudette Blum and her father flee across the Alps into Italy with thousands of other Jewish refugees seeking safety, only to find an open battleground among the Nazis, the Allied forces, resistance fighters, Jews in hiding, and ordinary Italians struggling to survive the harsh realities of World War II. 75,000 first printing.

Synopsis:

Set in Italy during the dramatic finale of World War II, this new novel is the first in seven years by the bestselling author of The Sparrow and Children of God. It is September 8, 1943, and fourteen-year-old Claudette Blum is learning Italian with a suitcase in her hand. She and her father are among the thousands of Jewish refugees scrambling over the Alps toward Italy, where they hope to be safe at last, now that the Italians have broken with Germany and made a separate peace with the Allies. The Blums will soon discover that Italy is anything but peaceful, as it becomes overnight an open battleground among the Nazis, the Allies, resistance fighters, Jews in hiding, and ordinary Italian civilians trying to survive. Mary Doria Russell sets her first historical novel against this dramatic background, tracing the lives of a handful of fascinating characters. Through them, she tells the little-known but true story of the network of Italian citizens who saved the lives of forty-three thousand Jews during the war's final phase. The result of five years of meticulous research, A Thread of Grace is an ambitious, engrossing novel of ideas, history, and marvelous characters that will please Russell's many fans and earn her even more.

About the Author

The author of prize-winning research in paleoanthropology, Mary Doria Russell has written two previous novels, The Sparrow and Children of God. She lives with her husband and son in Cleveland, Ohio.

Product Details

ISBN:
9781588364418
Subtitle:
A Novel
Publisher:
Random House
Author:
Russell, Mary Doria
Subject:
Fiction-General
Subject:
Fiction : General
Subject:
General
Subject:
Historical - General
Subject:
Jews
Subject:
Literature-A to Z
Subject:
Science Fiction and Fantasy-A to Z
Subject:
main_subject
Subject:
all_subjects
Publication Date:
20050201
Binding:
ELECTRONIC
Language:
English
Pages:
430

Related Subjects

Fiction and Poetry » Literature » A to Z
Fiction and Poetry » Literature » Jewish
Fiction and Poetry » Popular Fiction » Military

A Thread of Grace: A Novel
0 stars - 0 reviews
$ In Stock
Product details 430 pages Random House - English 9781588364418 Reviews:
"Publishers Weekly Review" by , "Busy, noisy and heartfelt, this sprawling novel by Russell — a striking departure from her previous two acclaimed SF thrillers, The Sparrow and Children of God — chronicles the Italian resistance to the Germans during the last two years of WWII. Three cultures mingle uneasily in Porto Sant'Andrea on the Ligurian coast of northwest Italy — the Italian Jews of the village, headed by the chief rabbi Iacopo Soncini; the Italian Catholics, like Sant'Andrea's priest Don Osvaldo Tomitz, who befriend and shelter the Jews; and the occupying Germans invited by Mussolini's crumbling regime. In the last camp is the drunken, tubercular Nazi deserter, Doktor Schramm, a broken man who confesses to Don Osvaldo that while working in state hospitals and Auschwitz, he was responsible for murdering 91,867 people. Meanwhile, Jewish refugees in southern France, including Albert Blum and his teenage daughter, Claudette, are fleeing across the Alps to Italy, hoping to find sanctuary there. Russell pursues numerous narrative threads, including the Blums' perilous flight over the mountains; Italian Jew Renzo Leoni's personal coming to terms with his participation in the Dolo hospital bombing during the Abyssinian campaign in 1935; the dangerous frenzy of the Italian partisans; and the bloody-mindedness of German officers resolved to carry out Hitler's murderous racial policy despite mounting evidence of its futility. The action moves swiftly, with impressive authority, jostling dialogue, vibrant personalities and meticulous, unexpected historical detail. The intensity and intimacy of Russell's storytelling, her sharp character writing and fierce sense of humor bring fresh immediacy to this riveting WWII saga. Agent, Jane Dystel. (Feb. 1) Forecast: This is a worthy successor to high-caliber, crowd-pleasing WWII novels like Corelli's Mandolin or The English Patient. With the publisher firmly behind it — Russell will embark on a 12-city author tour — expect substantial sales. " Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) (Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"Review" by , "Essential reading for people who love Italy. You will lose yourself completely in this ecumenical epic of Italians working together to save Jewish refugees during the German Occupation of 1943–1944. Russell has a deep empathy for her characters and writes with genius about the horrors of guerrilla war. This wholly absorbing historical novel ends with perhaps the most moving coda in fictional history."
"Review" by , "Fans of Mary Doria Russell's The Sparrow and Children of God will be thrilled by her masterful new novel. A Thread of Grace is a rich, multi-layered narrative that offers fresh insight into a devastating time in world affairs. A story of love and war, it speaks to the resilience and beauty of the human spirit in the midst of unimaginable horror. It is, unquestionably, a literary triumph."
"Review" by , "Mary Doria Russell's fans (and aren't we all?) will rejoice to see her new novel on the shelves. A Thread of Grace is as ambitious, beautiful, tense, and transforming as any of us could have hoped."
"Review" by , "[T]he author's emotional commitment to her characters is such that they soon grow on you, transcending cliché and laying claim to your heart....Mary Doria Russell's novel is...rich and broad and intricately figured — and in its design there is a glint of something like hope."
"Review" by , "Russell's characters were slow to come to life, and dialogue in the opening chapters was stiff. But as the pages rolled by, her people did come to life, without exception becoming more complex and more interesting. The writing, too, began to strike sparks."
"Review" by , "Russell is a smart, passionate and imaginative writer, and there wasn't a moment when I wanted to set this book aside. It's a vivid account of northern Italy during World War II."
"Review" by , "[A]n emotionally wrenching experience. Russell has succeeded in vividly and memorably evoking the hardships, dangers, sufferings and sorrows of wartime life in Nazi-occupied Italy in a somber, profoundly moving book that engages the heights and depths of human experience."
"Review" by , "Densely populated, well-plotted novel, which is thick with intersecting plots and characters — most of them both colorful and memorable."
"Review" by , "[A] rich, rewarding, and well-researched tale of WWII....Beautiful, noble, fascinating, and almost unbearably sad."
"Review" by , "[A]n expansive, well-researched, and compelling novel....Russell is good at presenting the human story while never using the war merely as a backdrop for personal dramas."
"Synopsis" by , In September 1943, fourteen-year-old Claudette Blum and her father flee across the Alps into Italy with thousands of other Jewish refugees seeking safety, only to find an open battleground among the Nazis, the Allied forces, resistance fighters, Jews in hiding, and ordinary Italians struggling to survive the harsh realities of World War II. 75,000 first printing.
"Synopsis" by , Set in Italy during the dramatic finale of World War II, this new novel is the first in seven years by the bestselling author of The Sparrow and Children of God. It is September 8, 1943, and fourteen-year-old Claudette Blum is learning Italian with a suitcase in her hand. She and her father are among the thousands of Jewish refugees scrambling over the Alps toward Italy, where they hope to be safe at last, now that the Italians have broken with Germany and made a separate peace with the Allies. The Blums will soon discover that Italy is anything but peaceful, as it becomes overnight an open battleground among the Nazis, the Allies, resistance fighters, Jews in hiding, and ordinary Italian civilians trying to survive. Mary Doria Russell sets her first historical novel against this dramatic background, tracing the lives of a handful of fascinating characters. Through them, she tells the little-known but true story of the network of Italian citizens who saved the lives of forty-three thousand Jews during the war's final phase. The result of five years of meticulous research, A Thread of Grace is an ambitious, engrossing novel of ideas, history, and marvelous characters that will please Russell's many fans and earn her even more.
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