Tuesday, April 17, 2012
The Shoemaker's Wife by Adriana Trigiani
In 1905, when Ciro Lazzari was ten and his beloved brother Eduardo was eleven, their father died in the mines of Minnesota. Left alone as a widow with two sons, Ciro's mother couldn't handle life in the Italian Alps, so she left her sons at a convent, promising to come back when she could. But, Ciro grew up there, educated by the nuns and his brother, a lonely boy, but a boy who learned to appreciate the beauty in the world while longing for love.
In a small village nearby, Enza Ravenelli grew up as the beloved oldest daughter in a poor working class family. Family meant everything to her. Enza was fifteen when her beloved younger sister died. After her sister's funeral, Enza returned to the cemetery, where she met a young man her own age who had been sent to dig the grave. She willingly kissed Ciro Lazzari, hoping he would return to see her. But, it would be years, and a continent away before the two would meet again.
Circumstances sent both Ciro and Enza to New York, where they ran into each other again in a hospital. And, their lives seemed to have a pattern. They both thrived in their new country, Enza as a seamstress and Ciro as a shoemaker, but their timing was always wrong. Time after time, they missed the opportunity to spend more than an hour or two together. When World War I comes, it provided one more opportunity for the two young people to lose each other.
One paragraph in The Shoemaker's Wife stands out for me. It's a paragraph about Ciro, at a time when he had no idea Enza would become a seamstress. "He figured that all the threads of his experience would eventually be sewn together, taking shape in harmony and form to create a glorious work of art. But who would sew those pieces together? Who would make him whole?"
Trigiani's story of two lonely people, both yearning for love and family, is a story that spans decades and history, as any epic novel should. It's rich in detail, and rich in the Italian and Italian American experience. It's a novel full of color and music. Best of all, The Shoemaker's Wife is full of life and love.
Adriana Trigiani's website is www.adrianatrigiani.com
The Shoemaker's Wife by Adriana Trigiani. HarperCollins. 2012. ISBN 9780061257094 (hardcover), 475p.
FTC Full Disclosure - I requested a copy of this book from the publisher, planning to review it.