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The Shoemaker's Wife by Adriana Trigiani

The Shoemaker's Wife (original 2012; edition 2012)

by Adriana Trigiani

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937609,295 (3.84)21
Title:The Shoemaker's Wife
Authors:Adriana Trigiani
Info:Harper (2012), Kindle Edition, 494 pages
Collections:Read but unowned

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The Shoemaker's Wife by Adriana Trigiani (2012)

  1. 00
    Vita by Melania G. Mazzucco (BookshelfMonstrosity)
    BookshelfMonstrosity: These lavish, richly detailed historical sagas follow the lives of young Italian immigrants -- in both cases, childhood sweethearts separated by circumstances beyond their control -- as they build separate, yet frequently intertwining, new lives in early 20th-century America.… (more)

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Showing 1-5 of 60 (next | show all)
This review is for the audio version. A professional artist read the first half of the book. She was excellent. Then about 1919 the author started reading, separating the book into the past and the present. (Why was 1919 supposed to be the present and the time preceding the past?). She obviously felt the story deeply and personally, but I found her reading unpleasant. I may have enjoyed the book more had I read it the old fashioned way. ( )
  motivmkt | Oct 22, 2015 |
The Shoemaker's Wife by Adriana Trigiana was the love story of the author's grandparents in novel form. The was an epic story (almost 500 pages) of Colin and Enza, both from Italy who found themselves the U.S. for a myriad of reasons just prior to the Great War. This book tells in vivid detail the family life of Colin and Enza: their food, their love, the vocations, their passions, their friends, their homes, etc. The author has the ability to describe the locations as if one was almost there! This was not your typical love-story fluff. I loved how the author wove in real life personages and events with which a reader could identify. My favorite part of the book was when Enza worked at the Met as a seamstress for Enrico Caruso. It's obvious the author had a vast knowledge of history and culture to be able to write about locales such as Italy, Hoboken, NJ, the Met, and Minnesota. I recommend this book if you want a touch of nostalgia. ( )
  tess_schoolmarm | Jun 8, 2015 |
Nice read, but predictable and sentimental. It does give a good impression of the life of Italian immigrants in search of a better life in America. ( )
  chrisgalle | Mar 5, 2015 |
I wish this book had ended about 200 pages earlier than it did. I really liked the first 2/3rds of the story - mostly when Enza and Ciro's stories were told separately. I was completely sucked in to what was going on for each of them and found myself thinking about the book when I wasn't reading it. However, their love story, at least until they get married, didn't feel very realistic to me. Maybe I'm a skeptic, but I've never enjoyed the "we met three times and now we're going to get married" story. I do realize that this was a different time, but I had a hard time swallowing the soulmate theme. But if they had to end up together, I wish it had ended with their wedding; I felt like the rest of the novel was too forced, an attempt to make things happen. I found myself rolling my eyes often and skimming pages towards the end. ( )
  carebear10712 | Dec 31, 2014 |
Two young boys, Ciro & Eduardo were left at a convent in a small village in the Italian alps where they were raised by nuns when their widowed mother Katerina could no longer care for them. There we meet Enza the daughter of a struggling carriage driver. Their paths cross several times before they find themselves in America trying to make a living.
The novel chronicals the story of Italian immigrants in NYC at the time when they were trying to make their way and find the american dream.

I enjoyed the book but found something was missing. I am an Adriana Trigiani fan however, of her novels this was not my favorite. ( )
  AstridG | Nov 17, 2014 |
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In Memory of Monsignor Don Andrea Spada
Who Loved the Mountain
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The scalloped hem of Caterina Lazzari's blue velvet coat grazed the fresh-fallen snow, leaving a pale pink path on the bricks as she walked across the empty piazza.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0061257095, Hardcover)

Kathryn Stockett Interviews Adriana Trigiani

Kathryn Stockett was born and raised in Jackson, Mississippi. After graduating from the University of Alabama with a degree in English and Creative Writing, she moved to New York City, where she worked in magazine publishing and marketing for nine years. The Help is her first novel.

Kathryn Stockett: This is by far your most epic novel to date. How long did it take you to write The Shoemaker’s Wife?

Adriana Trigiani: I worked on this story for over 20 years as I wrote scripts and novels and had my own family. There are scraps of paper, dinner napkins, and bills with timelines and notes scrawled across them. There are old notebooks filled with my grandmother’s musings from 1985. I collected train tickets, copies of ships’ manifests, and a silk tag with my grandmother’s name from garments she had created. I traveled as far as the Italian Alps and as close as the few blocks it takes me to walk to Little Italy in New York City to capture the historical aspects of the story. All of this went into the novel. It was a delicious gestation period.

Stockett: This is a novel, but it is inspired by a true story—a family story, right?

Trigiani: Yes—my grandparents, Lucia and Carlo. Their love was a dance with fate. It is riddled with near misses against a landscape of such massive world events that it’s a wonder they got together at all. My challenge was to present their world to the reader so it might feel it was happening in the moment. I wanted the reader to have the experience I had when stories were told to me by the woman who lived them.

Stockett: The novel takes place during the first half of the twentieth century--what is so compelling about this period of time to you?

Trigiani: The cusp of the twentieth century was a time everything was new—cars, phones, planes, electricity, even sportswear, and in each innovation was a kind of explosive potential. No one could predict where all the inventions would lead, people only knew that change was unavoidable.

My grandparents were delighted every time America presented them with something they had never seen before. And my grandparents’ sense of wonder never left them, so I tried not to let it leave the page, be it a cross-country train ride or the first snap of the bobbin on an electric Singer sewing machine.

Stockett: Through the remarkable story of Enza and Ciro, your novel tells the larger story of the immigrant experience in America.

Trigiani: What a gift immigrants were and are to this country! They bring their talents and loyalty and make our country even greater. My grandparents were proud to be new Americans. Assimilation was not about copying an American ideal, but aspiring to their own version of it. The highest compliment you could pay a fellow immigrant was: he (or she) was a hard worker. I hear the phrase work like an immigrant said, but really, it’s bigger than that—we must also dream like immigrants.

Stockett: The Shoemaker’s Wife seamlessly brings together fictional characters and historical figures—how did the wonderful Caruso enter the novel?

Trigiani: It started with a three-foot stack of vinyl records—my grandmother Lucia’s collection of Caruso. Her absolute devotion to The Great Voice lasted her whole life long. I knew, in order to write this novel, I had to fall in love with Caruso too, because he sang the score of my grandparents’ love affair.

When Lucia passed, I went to my first opera, seeking understanding and comfort. As the music washed over me, I began to understand why my grandmother was such a fan. The words were Italian, and the emotions were big; nothing was left unexpressed in the music. If only life were that way.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:10:16 -0400)

(see all 3 descriptions)

The majestic and haunting beauty of the Italian Alps is the setting for the first meeting of Enza, a practical beauty, and Ciro, a strapping mountain boy, who meet as teenagers, despite growing up in villages just a few miles apart. When Ciro catches the local priest in a scandal, he is banished from his village and sent to hide in America as an apprentice to a shoemaker in Little Italy. Without explanation, he leaves a bereft Enza behind. Set during the years preceding and during World War I.… (more)

(summary from another edition)

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