Wednesday, October 10, 2012

The Shoemakers Wife

This is the first book I've read by Adriana Trigiani. I really enjoyed it and will be looking for more by her.  It is the story of Ciro and Enza.  Two Italians born in the Alps at the turn of the century who go to New York to make a new life for themselves.  Ciro and his brother Eduardo were left at a convent after their father died and their mother could no longer care for them.  She had promised to return a few months later but time passes and the nuns become their new family.  Both boys are hardworking but while Eduardo embraces church life, Ciro wants more out of life - and freely admits he loves women too much to live a life of celibacy.

Enza is the oldest daughter of a large family.  Her father works hard to support their family by driving a carriage.  Enza is an excellent seamstress and helps out as much as she can.  When Enza's youngest sister dies, Ciro is sent to dig the grave for the little girl.  He and Enza have an immediate connection but shortly after their meeting Enza and her father leave for America.  She to work as a seamstress and her father to work in the mines. Ciro heads to America about the same time not knowing that Enza is there too.  There are a number of missed connections between the two over the course of the book, but they are believable and the lives the characters lead are well crafted. 

The only gripe I have about the book is I never really understood what happened to the boys' mother.  There is a brief explanation later on, but it didn't really clarify anything for me.   
A very satisfying read with excellent descriptions.  When I first started reading the descriptions were so detailed it distracted me a little bit, but then I realized the reason is that not many authors bother with detailed descriptions anymore, it's all dialogue and plot.  Once I got past that, I quickly got sucked in.  This book is full of ups and downs and there were times when things were going well for Ciro and Enza and I would stop reading for a while so they could exist in their happy little world in my mind for a while.

Apparently the story is partly inspired by events of the authors own family although it is a work of fiction.  I don't normally read too many reviews of books before I read them for fear of spoilers, but as I read some reviews now, I find it funny that a couple of people were glad to read a book about Italy and Italian immigrants in New York that did not include any mafioso.  I hadn't thought about that but it's true.  Then again, these are Northern Italians so maybe that's why.  I definitely recommend it, and will be looking for more books by this author.

Next up are the Night Circus and Gone Girl.  I've already started Night Circus and am enjoying it but just got Gone Girl from the library and it's a 14 day loan since it's a pretty popular book. 

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for posting this. Now that I can finally pleasure read, I'm always looking for interesting new finds! I'll add this to my list.


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