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The Seven or Eight Deaths of Stella Fortuna: A Novel

The Seven or Eight Deaths of Stella Fortuna: A Novel

Scritto da Juliet Grames

Narrato da Lisa Flanagan


The Seven or Eight Deaths of Stella Fortuna: A Novel

Scritto da Juliet Grames

Narrato da Lisa Flanagan

valutazioni:
4.5/5 (52 valutazioni)
Lunghezza:
16 ore
Editore:
Pubblicato:
May 7, 2019
ISBN:
9780062917614
Formato:
Audiolibro

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Descrizione

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 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.

Editore:
Pubblicato:
May 7, 2019
ISBN:
9780062917614
Formato:
Audiolibro

Disponibile anche come...

Disponibile anche come libroLibro

Informazioni sull'autore

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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Recensioni dei lettori

  • (5/5)
    Stella was the second child of Assunta and Antonio Fortuna and the second Stella because the first Mariastella died from influenza when she was an infant.Assunta had a difficult life and a cruel husband. He was not nice to her, would leave for months at a time and not send her money, but she survived and did everything herself and took care of her children. Assunta didn't have a happy life except for her children.THE SEVEN OR EIGHT DEATHS OF STELLA FORTUNA tells the tale of the lives of the author's family and specifically Stella and Tina who were the best of friends as they grew up in Italy and as they aged in America until the final accident happened. The accidents that caused Stella to almost die were quite unbelievable. Stella was definitely an amazing person to say the least. Her mother, Assunta, was also quite remarkable.If you are Italian or simply know an Italian, you will want to read this book for many reasons. There are so many references to things that happened in my Italian family that made the read more special - especially the food aspect and the Italian expressions used. THE SEVEN OR EIGHT DEATHS OF STELLA FORTUNA should be read if only to learn about the difficult lives of Europeans, the immigration process, their struggles in America, their work ethic, their schooling, their traditions, their customs, their family loyalty, and their religious beliefs.This book has feelings and emotions oozing out of it and has you living the lives along with the characters. The characters will grow on you, you will cry and laugh along with them, and at times be horrified.The writing in this book is beautiful and descriptive and is an outstanding debut. Marvelous, magnificent, original, and impressive are some adjectives to describe this book.You will not want to put it down. 5/5This book was given to me as an ARC by the publisher via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review.
  • (4/5)
    Strong, character driven story about an immigrant woman and her family that I think will appeal to book clubs and those looking for a literary beach read. There's lots to talk about here, lots of issues and different perspectives. It's a story people from many backgrounds would relate to.
  • (5/5)
    This was marvelously well done. A long sweeping family saga that moves from the small town of Ievoli, in Calabria, Italy to the Fortuna family's eventual emigration to America. The men in the book are horrible, with perhaps just one or two exepctions. The patriarchial society is alive and well in the old country, but Stella's mother Assunta is the strength of the family, working to feed and keep herself and the first Mariastella alive while father Antonio is fighting in WWI. After the war, the first Mariastella passes away of the Spanish flu and through the circumstance of being born next, the heroine of the title is named Mariastella, called Stella, to honor the first. There are a lot of old country traditions--bags of mint and recitations to protect one from the Evil Eye continue into the United States. Stella seems to need all the help she can get, the book is broken up into sections detailing the brushes with death she has throughout her very long life. Stella is one of a kind, not quite suited to the time she was born in, always the protector of her little sister Tina and family. The narrator suggests near the end that perhaps Stella's misfortunes are created by a toddler sized ghost or one wonders if Stella, in her lobotomized state, is right after all.
  • (3/5)
    This is an epic story that covers the life of Stella Fortuna, from her birth in Italy in the early 1900's until the end of her very very very long life. And what a life! Born in a small rural village in Italy, Stella faces the normal hardship of poverty, but also has several life threatening events in her life where she almost dies. Some of the events are pretty unusual, like getting trampled by pigs, and some more mundane, like childbirth, but all of them almost make this epic tale a short story.The descriptions of this book are vivid and well crafted, and I especially loved the early parts of life in Italy. But, for me, the book dragged. Not that any of the near death experiences should have been cut, but some of the every day details of Stella's life could definitely have been taken out. Overall, an interesting story.
  • (5/5)
    Loved this tale of Stella Fortuna. Well paced and an interesting read.
  • (5/5)
    Loved the Italian culture! Also the readers accents. I recommend.
  • (3/5)
    Highly detailed saga that is just a bit too long.
  • (5/5)
    What a book. A unflinching love letter to Calabria through the eyes of a woman who never wanted to leave or be married and was forced to do both. It can be a tough read due to disturbing content that's all the more disturbing because of how uncommon it is. the storytelling conceit of the story being researched by her great granddaughter took getting used to, but the story never falters and the characters are both familiar and unique. A great read.
  • (5/5)
    just finished reading the 6 or 8 deaths of stella fortuna. It was soo amazing, even though i had to push myself to keep on a few times because i was so upset with Stella for her deicisions and actions. That is to say she and the other characters (A huge Italian and then Italian-American family) were very human. A great family love story and a story of how women have been at least least somewhat, if not completely liberated. Highly recommend!
  • (2/5)
    The Seven or Eight Deaths of Stella Fortuna, Juliet Grames, author; Lisa Flanagan, narratorI did not finish this book. It is rare for me to give up on a book, however, when I began dreading the return to it, I decided it was time. After almost half, I gave up. Although the narrator did a fine job with each of the characters, the subject matter kept putting me to sleep. I had to listen to the same parts over and over again because they were tedious and redundant which made the almost 17 hours of audio seem unending. The book was about the life of the second Stella Fortuna, the first one having died in early childhood. The second always seemed to be able to cheat a death that would have taken others. It was about how this Stella often made crucial errors, how she was filled with remorse for her mistakes, how she vowed it would not happen again, but it did, how her life and the life of her family played out in an unfair world in which they felt powerless.Stella’s father, Antonio, was an abusive and selfish man. He believed that women were beneath him in stature and were there to serve his needs. He had traveled to America to make his fortune, leaving the family behind in Italy. He visited infrequently. After many years, he still felt loyalty to his wife, Assunta, and to his children. He wanted to bring them to America so that they could be reunited. After he managed to figure out the system and work out the appropriate paper work, they finally arrived. One of his children, Luigi, had never even met his father, having been born after his last visit home. Antonio was now far more worldly than the rest of his family and noticed the differences.The first Stella Fortuna had died because of the family’s poverty, their inability to get the appropriate care for a sick child, and the selfishness of the elite rich who would not help them, although it was within their power. The second Stella was unsure of herself, angry or unhappy most of the time. Also, because of her ignorance about many things in life, she often made poor choices. Although she seemed to always survive against all odds, she seemed to be plagued with misfortune. Her life was fraught with moments of confusion and disaster. After each disastrous occurrence, Stella always reprimanded herself, but still, she seemed to make the mistakes again, regardless. It was because of her ability to survive death so many times that she was relied upon to be the strength and guidance in the family. Her ability to survive dangerous situations which might have felled others, seemed to give Stella power and an odd kind of stature. Although she sometimes seemed to possess a great deal of arrogance, at times, she also seemed distrustful and lacked self confidence. She often doubted her own judgment and that generally resulted in failures of judgment. To Stella (or perhaps the author), men were always waiting for their prey. They were eager to take advantage of women in any way they could and to cheat all those who were weaker than they. Although she was taken advantage of by the system and by evil people, and although it was really not her fault since she was not experienced in the outside world, having come from a tiny little Italian village, Ievoli in Calabria, and really had no worldly experience, I was not able to admire Stella for the efforts she made on behalf of herself and her family. I grew impatient with the bleakness of the novel and did not want to read about another tragic situation, avoided or not.Still, all of the above should not have turned me off the book because a reader does not have to like the characters. The prose flowed well and seemed really well done in terms of the use of language, but perhaps it was the repetitious nature of the narrative that kept me thinking, oh no, not again each time I read of another possible disaster in the making. The book, in one way, was trying to present the difficulties immigrants face, especially when faced with bureaucracies that they don’t understand or are not familiar with, and it stressed the effect those traumatic experiences have on the family as it tries to melt into the fabric of the society. Beyond that, and Stella’s near death misses, I found it tedious. I didn’t see a light at the end of the tunnel coming in the future.There was a redeeming feature in the novel, however, although it was repetitious and dark, the writing was clear and concise, and the translation seemed to accurately and clearly represent the author’s intent.
  • (4/5)
    Juliet Grames’ debut novel, The Seven or Eight Deaths of Stella Fortuna is a lush epic depicting the 100-year lifespan of a woman whose name portends an existence filled with extraordinary luck. In fact, Stella is very lucky- surviving the seven or eight close calls she has with death as described in the title. At the same time, she also experiences an exorbitant amount of suffering and loss along the way as well. Stella’s tale is narrated by one of her descendants, who elicits memories from her aunt who can bear witness to her life, even though this may mean that the story is distorted by time and perspective. At the onset the book moves at a luxurious pace, painstakingly describing Stella’s beginnings in a small village in Calabria prior to WWI. As it can feel in real life, time speeds up as the novel progresses into her later years. By the end, whole decades are consolidated into mere sentences. Stella’s story embraces the feminine point of view-there is little sympathy left for the male characters who are either brutes or nonentities. It is the women who unflinchingly bear the scars and emotional weight that propels the novel’s action. Yet, it is Stella’s refusal to adhere to the expectations and imposed limitations of womanhood that makes her both courageous and embattled. Stella is a fascinating character, and Grames does a wonderful job incorporating the experiences of the time period and the emigration of Italians to America. Comparisons can certainly be made to Marquez’ One Hundred Years of Solitude in terms of tone, depth, descriptiveness and the use of magical realism. Traditional Catholic practices and faith combine with superstition to create a source of conflict and allows the author to introduce the ambiguity of direct spiritual interference. The Seven or Eight Deaths of Stella Fortuna is a novel that introduces Juliet Grames as a promising new entrant into the realm of historical, literary fiction.