At BEA I told the editors at FSG how much I respected them for publishing Melania G. Mazzucco's Vita. This is a tale of the immigrant experience that is very different from the feel-good, sentimental stories we're usually fed. This is a powerful piece of literature that will make you stop, think and ask yourself questions, which is what all great literature does. The book begins with two Italian children, Vita and Diamante, arriving at Ellis Island after their family has sent for them. The two are thrown into a cauldron of poverty and brutality as their families try to survive in an absolute slum where people will do anything to survive. Mazzucco injects her own family history into this stark and very powerfully written novel. Vita won Italy's top literary award, the Strega Prize. The English translation [by Virginia Jewiss] is a superb piece of fiction.

Have an opinion on an upcoming galley?E-mail