In April 1903, the steamship Republic spills more than two thousand
immigrants onto Ellis Island. Among them are Diamante, age twelve, and Vita,
nine, sent by their poor families in southern Italy to make their way in
America. Amid the chaos and splendor of New York, the misery and criminality
of Little Italy, and the shady tenants of Vita's father's decrepit Prince
Street boarding house, Diamante and Vita struggle to survive, to create a new
life, and to become American. From journeys west in search of work to journeys
back to Italy in search of their roots, to Vita's son's encounter with his
mother's home town while serving as an army captain in World War II, Vita touches
on every aspect of the heartbreaking and inspiring immigrant story.
The award-winning Italian author Melania G. Mazzucco weaves her own family
history into a great American novel of the immigrant experience. A sweeping
tale of discovery, love, and loss, Vita is a passionate blend of
biography and autobiography, of fantasy and fiction.
....this teeming, nostalgic tale should find willing American readers.
Starred Review. Inspired storytelling drives this fictionalized narrative. Mazzucco also interjects nonfiction chapters that relate her search for family members in Italy and the U.S., adding a resonant sleuthing element that further distinguishes this literary take on early-20th-century Italian-America and enduring love.
Library Journal - Eleanor J. Bader
While the text is dense, rich details provide a harrowing glimpse into the era's political and social milieu. Winner of Italy's prestigious Strega Prize, this fascinating and moving novel is highly recommended.
Il Sole 24 Ore - Giovanni Pacchiano
A beautiful and moving saga, a lyrical epic, profoundly existential, full of illusion, hope, and heartache.
Recent Reader Reviews
Rated of 5
by www.mirellapatzer.com Vita by Melania Mazzucco “The image of that city rising from the water and aiming straight for the sky will stay with him for the rest of his life - so near and yet so unreachable.”
This novel written by Melania Mazzucco became an international publishing sensation with... Read More
Mazzucco was born in Rome in
1966. She earned a degree in
Italian literature from La
Sapienza University and a degree
in cinema from the Experimental
Center for Cinematography. In
addition to her four novels (of
which, only Vita appears
to have been translated into English) she
has written award-winning works
for the cinema, theater, and
radio. Originally written in
Italian and published in Italy,
Vita won the 2003 Strega Prize,
Italy's leading literary award.
lives in Italy.
Set in Italy during the dramatic finale of World War II, Russell's ambitious and engrossing novel tells the little known story of how Italian citizens saved more than 43,000 Jews during the last 20 months of WWII.
From the duplicity of Italy's role in the thirties to the dark years of terrorism in our own times, and moving from Rome and Southern Italy to New England and New York City, Casa Rossa is a brilliant weave of lives and memories: an enthralling novel.
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