2000 Drue Heinz Literature Prize Winner
Selected by Frank Conroy
In the Gathering Woods contains a cast of characters who hail from the same Italian ancestors, but whose stories come at us unbounded by time and space. The book opens early in the twentieth century, with a narrator’s boyhood recollections of gathering mushrooms with his grandfather—a narrator who seems still haunted by a terrifying local legend that tormented him as a boy. We skip backward to a young shepherd-artist in the Apennine mountains in the 1500s, who yearns to be discovered, as Giotto was. Later, a preverbal baby accumulates bits of the conversation carried on by adults at the table above her head; a neurologist from Chicago returns to the Apennines to deposit shards of glass at a grave.
Whether they speak in the lost dialect of an immigrant, of infancy, or of an adolescent girl’s school lessons, these stories call up fragments of language in a struggle to understand and attempt to console through the act of reassembling. The language of these stories is both lyrical and comic, providing insight through the details of Bernardi’s writing.
About Adria BernardiSee more books from this Author
The volume leaps ahead to modern Illinois and tales of growing up in an ethnic family: “Sunday” is a baby’s-eye-view of a family dinner, and the next two pieces capture the frustrations of a later-generation Italian-American housewife.| Read Full Review of In the Gathering Woods (Pitt ...
If the Bulls win, his wife, Rina, watching the game at home alone, will not need to take the pills that protect her from the ""dark periods."" In ""Rustlings,"" a young mother discovers that part of becoming an American is ""to unlearn what things were called,"" replacing Italian with a flawless,...| Read Full Review of In the Gathering Woods (Pitt ...