The Seven or Eight Deaths of Stella Fortuna Summary and Reviews

The Seven or Eight Deaths of Stella Fortuna

by Juliet Grames

The Seven or Eight Deaths of Stella Fortuna by Juliet Grames X
The Seven or Eight Deaths of Stella Fortuna by Juliet Grames
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  • Published in USA  May 2019
    464 pages
    Genre: Historical Fiction

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Book Summary

A richly told debut, The Seven or Eight Deaths of Stella Fortuna is a tale of family transgressions as ancient and twisted as the olive branch that could heal them.

For Stella Fortuna, death has always been a part of life. Stella's childhood is full of strange, life-threatening incidents—moments where ordinary situations like cooking eggplant or feeding the pigs inexplicably take lethal turns. Even Stella's own mother is convinced that her daughter is cursed or haunted.

In her rugged Italian village, Stella is considered an oddity—beautiful and smart, insolent and cold. Stella uses her peculiar toughness to protect her slower, plainer baby sister Tina from life's harshest realities. But she also provokes the ire of her father Antonio: a man who demands subservience from women and whose greatest gift to his family is his absence.

When the Fortunas emigrate to America on the cusp of World War II, Stella and Tina must come of age side-by-side in a hostile new world with strict expectations for each of them. Soon Stella learns that her survival is worthless without the one thing her family will deny her at any cost: her independence.

In present-day Connecticut, one family member tells this heartrending story, determined to understand the persisting rift between the now-elderly Stella and Tina.

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Reviews

Media Reviews

"[A] vivid and moving debut ... With her story of an "ordinary" woman who is anything but, Grames explores not just the immigrant experience but the stages of a woman's life. This is a sharp and richly satisfying novel." - Publishers Weekly (starred review)

"Readers who appreciate narratives driven by vivid characterization and family secrets will find much to enjoy here...an author to watch." - Booklist

"Not your typical multigenerational saga, this debut novel proffers a dark version of the female experience, where motherhood leeches life from the soul. Stella is an original character ahead of her time, and readers may be troubled by her negativity and not wholly convinced by her action—but kudos to an author who can evoke such a strong reaction." - Library Journal

"Messily executed, but the author's emotional commitment to her material makes it compelling." - Kirkus Reviews

"Juliet Grames has written a magnificent debut, creating a deeply felt, richly imagined world based upon her family history. The dark beauty of Calabria and the promise of America sets the stage for Stella's volatile life...Moody, original and profound." - Adriana Trigiani, bestselling author of Tony's Wife

"Reading The Seven or Eight Deaths of Stella Fortuna is like listening to the rollicking stories of your Italian grandmother— full of memorable characters and speckled with fascinating bits of history. This is a fantastic and timely family story." - Jessica Shattuck, bestselling author of The Women in the Castle

"Juliet Grames has delved into the family secrets of an Italian American family and the ways in which those secrets, as well as slights and injustices, can both cross oceans and trickle down through the generations. This quintessential American immigrant story feels important right now, and I highly recommend it." - Lisa See, author of Snow Flower and the Secret Fan and The Tea Girl of Hummingbird Lane

The information about The Seven or Eight Deaths of Stella Fortuna shown above was first featured in "The BookBrowse Review" - BookBrowse's online-magazine that keeps our members abreast of notable and high-profile books publishing in the coming weeks. In most cases, the reviews are necessarily limited to those that were available to us ahead of publication. If you are the publisher or author of this book and feel that the reviews shown do not properly reflect the range of media opinion now available, please send us a message with the mainstream media reviews that you would like to see added.

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Author Information

Juliet Grames

Juliet Grames was born in Hartford, Connecticut, and grew up in a tight-knit Italian-American family. A book editor, she has spent the last decade at Soho Press, where she is associate publisher and curator of the Soho Crime imprint. This is her first novel.

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