Saturday, September 12, 2020

Book Review: THE GHOSTS OF ITALY 2020

The Ghosts of Italy: A Memoir documents Angela Paolantonio's return to her Italian roots during a visit to a mountain village, the home of her grandparents, that becomes her home as well. As much a travelogue and celebration of Italian culture and countryside as it is a memoir about a striking personal journey that resulted in fresh connections to a new place, The Ghosts of Italy is a delightful, atmospheric read for anyone interested in returning to one's roots and exploring heritage in another country.

Paolantonio opens her journey with a present-day observation of its culmination: "I dared dream years ago, conjuring an image of one day living in a stone house on a hillside in Italy, a flock of sheep grazing in a field beyond a balcony. Well, now I have them in view. Yet it is not just any view, nor any stone house on a hillside in Italy. It is the house where my grandmother was born, the balcony view of her youth."

With this, readers embark a journey that embraces the expedition, the destination, and the meaning of family connections alike in a memoir that celebrates all this and more.

As readers follow Paolantonio's revised life, they receive a fine discussion of losses, gains, and perseverance in the face of defeat. Black and white photos illustrate her words, while the magic of red fox, gray wolves, and dancing leaves comes to life.

The experience is not without its classic Italian romance as she widens her world and embraces family and new experiences alike.

Perhaps the most striking facet of this memoir lies in its ability to traverse the Italian countryside with a sense of determined purpose as Paolantonio evolves a relationship that will eventually challenge her relationships with her relatives and the town.

Readers breathe in the heart and soul of Italian culture and countryside and absorb the revised life of a woman who must decide where her heart truly lies. The discoveries that evolved from a search for the spirit of a grandmother go in unexpected directions, providing a moving saga that embraces the author and her readers to the end.

Those looking for moving stories of discovery and family heritage, as well as love, will find The Ghosts of Italy excels in its ability to introduce the spirit of not only a family, but a nation.

It's a memoir well worth the read.

D. Donovan, Senior Reviewer, Midwest Book Review

Library Journal Commercial Collections Memoirs Program

The Ghosts of Italy was a Library Journal curated selection for the Indie Author Project (IAP) Commercial Collections Memoirs Program for Queens Public Library and Garden City Public Library, New York. 

Publishers Weekly BookLife Prize, 2020

"The mingling of a journey to find ancestral roots with a rustic love story, plenty of local color, and excellent descriptions of Italian cuisine, result in an intriguing and passionate memoir." Booklife Prize 2020