The Seven or Eight Deaths of Stella Fortuna

The Seven or Eight Deaths of Stella Fortuna

A Novel

Book - 2019
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In this stunning debut novel, a young woman tells the story behind two elderly sisters estrangement, unraveling family secrets stretching back a century and across the Atlantic to early 20th century ItalyFor Stella Fortuna, death has always been a part of life. Stellas childhood is full of strange, life-threatening incidentsmoments where ordinary situations like cooking eggplant or feeding the pigs inexplicably take lethal turns. Even Stellas own mother is convinced that her daughter is cursed or haunted.In her rugged Italian village, Stella is considered an odditybeautiful and smart, insolent and cold. Stella uses her peculiar toughness to protect her slower, plainer baby sister Tina from lifes 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. 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.
Publisher: New York, NY : Ecco, an imprint of HarperCollinsPublishers, [2019]
Edition: First edition
ISBN: 9780062862822
Branch Call Number: GRAMES
Characteristics: 445 pages : illustrations ; 24 cm


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Jun 14, 2019

This book is so far away from my usual genre, it's not even funny. But at the same time, it almost seemed familiar. As a granddaughter of an Italian immigrant, I was able to empathize with a lot of Stella's struggles, and I recognized a lot of habits and sayings of my own family in hers. Reading this book felt like reading into my own history, in a way. Would definitely recommend.

Jun 04, 2019

Absolutely loved this book! A wonderful tale of the immigrant experience.

JCLGreggW Apr 16, 2019

Astounding and heartbreaking, Grames has crafted a powerful tale of the 20th Century immigrant experience that sounds like it was told in whispers between sips of grappa after weekend dinners when the tables are cleared, the kids are playing in the backyard, and family secrets start to come out.

Chapel_Hill_MarthaW Mar 05, 2019

Reading this book was, for me, a perfect example of the way you can appreciate an author's skill even if they're not entirely your cup of tea. This spans the life of one woman across much of the 20th century, charting her family's move from a remote Italian village to America, with the conceit of her numerous near-death experiences giving the book its structure. And, look, I think Grames is an author to watch -- this was ambitious in scope and assuredly written, particularly for a debut. But it's dark! Which is kind of the point -- one of the core themes is women trying (and generally failing) to carve out a life of their own beyond societal expectations for them -- but I think it's a kind of bleakess that will totally hook some readers, and turn others off. If this sounds like your kind of thing, though, this is a new author worth discovering.


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