Lives of the Saints
SynopsisA national bestseller for seventy-five weeks, Lives of the Saints is the winner of the Governor General's Literary Award for Fiction, the Smithbooks/Books In Canada First Novel Award, and the Bressani Prize.
When young Vittorio Innocente’s mother, Cristina, is bitten by a snake during an encounter with a blue-eyed stranger, the superstitions and prejudices rampant in their small Italian town immediately boil to the surface. For the independent-minded Cristina, however, the worst is yet to come, as the townsfolk notices the swell of her stomach. The villagers, and even her father, the Mayor, ostracize and isolate her. Vittorio, meanwhile, barely grasping the situation, is taunted by the children at school, befriended only by a compassionate teacher who gives him her valued copy of Lives of the Saints, which he pores over as an escape from his daily torments. Eight months pregnant and unable to abide her treatment in the village any longer, Cristina books a passage to Canada for herself and Vittorio, but not to join her husband Mario, who sailed there when Vittorio was only an infant. Nino Ricci’s classic bestseller is a poignant coming-of-age story and a searing look at a post-war Italy still mired in petty intolerances.
"Lives of the Saints is a gem of a novel, and its author is blessed with the rare ability to recreate a world entire and make us believe in it." — The Globe & Mail
"It is so lucid, it is dazzling. This seems to me to be literature at its best." — The Toronto Star
"Lives of the Saints is a wise novel, elegant and compassionate." — The Ottawa Citizen
"... perfect pitch and brilliant descriptive powers."
— The New York Times
"With Lives of the Saints, Nino Ricci has achieved a novel of remarkable beauty and unforgettable power ... Ricci belongs on the shelf reserved for writers such as Chatwin, Ondaatje and Flannery O'Connor. I cannot praise him too highly." — Timothy Findley
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