In debut novel, Juliet Grames delves into Calabrian immigrants' history

May 10, 2019 98

BY: Nancy Burns-Fusaro

She's been gone for more than a year now, but Antonette Cusano's influence over her oldest granddaughter remains powerful and profound. Cusano, who was born in 1920 in the Calabrian village of Ievoli, emigrated to the United States with her sister and best friend, Concetta; married, and raised her family in a Calabrian-American enclave outside Hartford. 

When she was in her 60s, Antonette fell down her cellar stairs. When she was found hours later, she had suffered a cerebral hemorrhage. To save her life, doctors performed an experimental lobotomy, which they told Antonette's family would leave her in a vegetative state.

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