Sometimes I Dream in Italian

Rita Ciresi, Author Delacorte Press $23.95 (224p) ISBN 978-0-385-33493-8
In her novels Pink Slip and Blue Italian, Cirisi established herself as a resonant voice chronicling the lives of Italian-Americans. In this wry, charming second story collection, the recurrent character is Angelina Lupo, a daughter of Italian-American immigrant parents, who grows up in '60s and '70s New Haven, Conn. For Angel, life is rife with contradictions: strong family ties also means having her hands bound behind her back, as her overbearing mother attempts to keep her two daughters obedient and tractable. In ""Big Heart"" and ""La Stella D'Oro,"" a prepubescent Angel learns the price some people pay for challenging tradition. ""Babbo,"" Angel's father, is a hardworking soda-pop deliveryman who is too tired to pay much attention to Angel or her beautiful older sister, Lina, who is not afraid to rebel. Angel's admiration for and loyalty to her sister puts the younger girl in a bind during adolescence, when she becomes a kind of mediator in the conflicted family, afraid to hurt or anger her parents, but eager for Lina's approval. Each of these 12 linked stories offers new insight into Angel's difficult reckoning with her mixed feelings and her colorful family and heritage. Narratives told from the perspective of an adult Angel show her with Lina waxing nostalgic about their childhood while reluctantly taking on the roles of caretakers to their aging and ailing parent , and coming to terms with their own ambitions after the older generation dies. Angel is an immensely likable character whose self-deprecating and humorous reflections on family, men and careers is paired with imagery that deftly evokes all five senses. One doesn't have to be Italian to relate to Angel; she represents any contemporary woman poised between the values of her parents' generation and her own burgeoning sense of self. (Oct.)
Reviewed on: 10/02/2000
Release date: 10/01/2000
Open Ebook - 150 pages - 978-0-307-49113-8
Paperback - 224 pages - 978-0-385-33494-5
Hardcover - 335 pages - 978-0-7862-3080-8
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