Shortlisted For The 2010 Biennal F. G. Bressani Literary Prize
2009 Finalist Bressani Award for Literature
A mesmerizing novel of betrayal, loss, and multiple identities, this is the story of Licia Giganteschi, for whom it takes half a lifetime to go back home, to a place she loves and hates at the same time. Licia grows up in the beautiful wilderness of a mountain village in Calabria, Italy. Born of terroni (farmers) with aspirations for their children, she is raised by Grazia, an introverted mother, and Marco, a guest-worker in Germany. She spends her time between the Zimpoli farm of her revolutionary, eccentric grandfather, and the suffocating scrutiny of her father’s relatives in the village of Aquilonia.
When the call to immigrate to Canada comes, for Licia, it is a welcome call. But she could not have foreseen that the curse of the Giganteschis will follow the family to Toronto and beyond. When Licia finally returns home and retraces the steps of those who loved her and those who hurt her, she understands how her mother’s life, and her own life, are intertwined with the mysterious women who were her mother’s only friends: her uncle’s mistress, a nun in a cave, and a witch who delivers babies.
“Be prepared to be transported into the world of Southern Italy to the sleepy sun-drenched village of Aquilonia, a place rich in lies, betrayal, secrets, and family tradition. With an engaging voice and a flair for dialogue, Lina Medaglia creates characters and stories, layer after layer that engage and disturb. In the style of Nino Ricci, she paints a vivid portrait of an Italian village and its villagers that you will not forget. A wonderful read by an appealing storyteller.”
—Maria Coletta McLean, author of My Father Came From Italy
“The strong narrative flow and exquisite use of poetic and lyrical language draw the reader into the vibrant folds of this auto/biographical fiction, creating compassionate connections with the characters that often took my breath away, made my heart stop. The novel reminds readers of the complexity of the human condition, of the necessity of challenging the patriarchal and political status quo, and of the complex challenges that originate for women of first- and second-generation immigrant families, and even subsequent ones, from their birth places.”
—Erika Hasebe-Ludt, Faculty of Education, University of Lethbridge, co-author of Life Writing and Literary Métissage as an Ethos for Our Times
“The life and family of Licia Giganteschi make for a complex and alluring story of love and hate, fate and courage. Family intrigue festers for generations below the surface of an Italian village and seems inescapable even in Toronto; that is, until Licia can finally conquer the demons by finding the truth.”
—Maria Cioni, author of Spaghetti Western: How My Father Brought Italian Food to the West