Thursday, October 16, 2014
Friday, October 10, 2014
Monday, October 6, 2014
Francine Prose’s Household Saints
For anyone who’s read light-as-panna cotta romance novels, Francine Prose’s Household Saints begins with what seems like a genre staple: Italian-American butcher Joseph Santangelo wins his wife in a card game. But within a few pages, it’s clear that what Prose has created is not just a meet-cute, but instead a colorful meditation on luck and love, family and faith, set against the backdrop of New York’s Little Italy in the years following World War II.
Joseph lives with his domineering and superstitious mother, who makes the much-in-demand sausage sold in his shop. While it seems Joseph is at first ambivalent about winning young Catherine Falconetti, who’s put up by her father (which only adds to her family’s reputation for bad luck), the proposal is accepted by a bewildered and naïve Catherine, and evolves into a long-lasting love match.
The marriage infuriates Joseph’s traditional Italian mother, however, and soon the new family is struggling to blend domineering Mrs. Santangelo’s superstitions with Catherine’s evolving sensibilities, such as her love of celebrity rags, or failings. And she’s a terrible cook.
Once their daughter Theresa is born, the vivid novel moves farther from the delicious details of the Santangelos’ neighborhood streets—where old-school advice clashes with the modernizing New York around them—into the otherworldly mind of a girl obsessed by living a life that emulates her own name-saint, Theresa. Their daughter’s severe and single-minded spirituality at turns irritates and confuses her parents.
Household Saints builds to an unexpected and shocking conclusion that, while as satisfying as a home-cooked meal, nevertheless leaves one wondering about the meaning—or possibility—of miracles.
Lisa Chambers is an American writer, journalist, and Italophile living in Rome.
Monday, September 15, 2014
Tuesday, September 9, 2014
Today’s Google Doodle celebrates War and Peace on what would have been Leo Tolstoy’s 186th birthday.
Birthday wishes, from all who’ve read Tolstoy, all who aspire to read Tolstoy, and all who pretend they’ve read Tolstoy!
Monday, August 4, 2014
Friday, August 1, 2014
Tuesday, July 15, 2014
Monday, July 14, 2014