In the Garden of Papa Santuzzu by Tony Ardizzone

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In the Garden of Papa Santuzzu is a magical, warm, and wise novel about a close-knit family's immigration from Sicily to America in the early 1900s.  The Girgentis are poor Sicilian farm laborers who endure back-breaking work in the fields of a tyrannical landlord.  Wanting more for their children and grandchildren than a lifetime of servitude, Papa Santuzzu and his wife Adriana push their seven sons and daughters, one by one, to immigrate to La Merica, a land of promise and opportunity.  In each chapter of Tony Ardizzone's loving tribute to Sicilian American culture, the Girgenti siblings tell us about the family and friends they have left behind in Sicily, the trials of their passage to New York, Chicago, and elsewhere, and the uncertain, yet ultimately satisfying lives they build in their adopted home.  We meet Rosa Dolci, a young bride who leaves Sicily with the help of three witches and an enchanted eel.  Teresa Pantaluna escapes her Sicilian family, in which she is the eighty-nine-thousandth seven-hundred-and-twenty-sixth daughter, by dressing in men's clothing and sailing to America.  Gaetanu Girgenti and his wife Teresa participate in the birth of a factory workers' union in Lawrence, Massachusetts.  In a New York City orphanage, Anna Girgenti experiences seven miraculous visions of the Virgin Mary in the form of the Black Madonna.  And Gerlando Cavadduzzo introduces his Chicago neighbors to the sensual delights of Sicilian baking.  Interwoven throughout their tales are the traditional folklore and songs of Sicily.  In the Garden of Papa Santuzzu is a rich and vibrant novel about the stories families tell each other, stories that make up a deeply personal and a common history.

About Tony Ardizzone

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Tony Ardizzone is the author of six books of fiction. He has received multiple national writing awards, including the Flannery O'Connor Award, as well as two individual artist fellowships in fiction from the National Endowment for the Arts.
Published July 1, 1999 by Picador USA. 339 pages
Genres: Literature & Fiction, History. Fiction

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But the book's lasting power derives less from its pointed, perfunctory snapshots than from Ardizzone's sharp metaphors: when the police shoot a striking worker, for instance, she makes ""a bird's nest of her thin, white fingers"" to cover her wound;

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