An Italian Wife

Sep 23, 2014 1316

You are cordially invited to attend a reading of Anne Hood's latest novel, An Italian Wife at the Italian American Museum on Thursday, September 25th.

About the book: Spanning the course of three wars and almost a century, An Italian Wife is a multi-generational saga chronicling the story of the Rimaldi family, from the first generation who immigrated to the United States from Italy on the cusp of the twentieth century to their great grandchildren. This is the American experience writ small, explored through the lens of one immigrant family. Beautifully written and deeply emotional, it will thrill fans and critics alike, and will attract new readers to this author.

Josephine is only fifteen when she marries Vincenzo Rimaldi by arrangement of the pair's parents—much too young to understand the ramifications. Her new husband immediately leaves for the United States in search of opportunity, and she continues on as if nothing has changed. Years later, he summons her to join him, and she must leave her idyllic Italian village for the New Country, where life is good and food is plentiful, but marriage to her husband is a duty rather than a joy. Still, it is here where Josephine creates a legacy through her sprawling family—six children born to Vincenzo and one illegitimate child fathered by a cherished lover. Her children and her children's children will spend their lives exploring what it means to be both Italian and American, each generation reacting differently to the idea of roots.

Both a sweeping portrayal of a family and of the major touchstones that shaped the United States in the twentieth century, including the Spanish influenza epidemic, World War I, World War II, Vietnam, and the 1960s counterculture, An Italian Wife is told through a series of intricately connected stories, each from the perspective of a different character. As Elizabeth Berg has said about Ann Hood, "You don't so much read about [her] characters as inhabit them." And, indeed, it's impossible not to relate to these characters while reading about their loves and losses, their secrets and lies, their kindnesses and betrayals. Among others, there is Josephine's son Carmine, so wounded by his experience in World War I that he's no longer able to function in daily life. And Josephine's granddaughter Connie, who does everything she can to reject her foreignness, from keeping her children away from her family to refusing to cook Italian food. And then there's Martha, Josephine's illegitimate daughter, who becomes obsessed with the idea of finding her biological mother after she has her own child. Their stories interweave in unexpected and fascinating ways that illuminate the underlying similarities all humans share, including the innate desire to find a sense of belonging.

The United States is a nation of immigrants, and as Ann Hood shows us, the immigrant experience is the American experience. An Italian Wife is a poignant and impossible-to-forget novel in which every reader will find something to relate.

Thursday, September 25, 6:30 P.M.

Italian American Museum
155 Mulberry Street
(Corner of Grand and Mulberry Streets)
New York, NY 10013

Suggested donation of $10


To reserve a place for this event, please call the Italian American Museum at (212) 965-9000 or email: [email protected]

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