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The Seven or Eight Deaths of Stella Fortuna: A Novel
(OverDrive MP3 Audiobook, OverDrive Listen)

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Published:
HarperAudio 2019
Status:
Available from OverDrive
Description

For Stella Fortuna, death has always been a part of life. Stella's childhood is full of strange, life-threatening incidents—moments where ordinary situations like cooking eggplant or feeding the pigs inexplicably take lethal turns. Even Stella's own mother is convinced that her daughter is cursed or haunted.

In her rugged Italian village, Stella is considered an oddity—beautiful and smart, insolent and cold. Stella uses her peculiar toughness to protect her slower, plainer baby sister Tina from life's harshest realities. But she also provokes the ire of her father Antonio: a man who demands subservience from women and whose greatest gift to his family is his absence.

When the Fortunas emigrate to America on the cusp of World War II, Stella and Tina must come of age side-by-side in a hostile new world with strict expectations for each of them. Soon Stella learns that her survival is worthless without the one thing her family will deny her at any cost: her independence.

In present-day Connecticut, one family member tells this heartrending story, determined to understand the persisting rift between the now-elderly Stella and Tina. A richly told debut, The Seven or Eight Deaths of Stella Fortuna is a tale of family transgressions as ancient and twisted as the olive branch that could heal them.

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Format:
OverDrive MP3 Audiobook, OverDrive Listen
Edition:
Unabridged
Street Date:
05/07/2019
Language:
English
ISBN:
9780062917614
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Citations
APA Citation (style guide)

Juliet Grames. (2019). The Seven or Eight Deaths of Stella Fortuna: A Novel. Unabridged HarperAudio.

Chicago / Turabian - Author Date Citation (style guide)

Juliet Grames. 2019. The Seven or Eight Deaths of Stella Fortuna: A Novel. HarperAudio.

Chicago / Turabian - Humanities Citation (style guide)

Juliet Grames, The Seven or Eight Deaths of Stella Fortuna: A Novel. HarperAudio, 2019.

MLA Citation (style guide)

Juliet Grames. The Seven or Eight Deaths of Stella Fortuna: A Novel. Unabridged HarperAudio, 2019.

Note! Citation formats are based on standards as of July 2010. Citations contain only title, author, edition, publisher, and year published. Citations should be used as a guideline and should be double checked for accuracy.
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Grouped Work ID:
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Needs Update?:
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Date Added:
May 02, 2019 16:50:34
Date Updated:
Dec 06, 2020 02:50:14
Last Metadata Check:
Apr 11, 2021 13:36:23
Last Metadata Change:
Feb 27, 2021 06:03:25
Last Availability Check:
Apr 11, 2021 13:36:26
Last Availability Change:
Mar 29, 2021 20:01:01
Last Grouped Work Modification Time:
Apr 11, 2021 03:18:09

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        Juliet Grames was born in Hartford, Connecticut, and grew up in a tight-knit Italian-American family. A book editor, she has spent the last decade at Soho Press, where she is associate publisher and curator of the Soho Crime imprint. This is her first novel.

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title
The Seven or Eight Deaths of Stella Fortuna
fullDescription

For Stella Fortuna, death has always been a part of life. Stella's childhood is full of strange, life-threatening incidents—moments where ordinary situations like cooking eggplant or feeding the pigs inexplicably take lethal turns. Even Stella's own mother is convinced that her daughter is cursed or haunted.

In her rugged Italian village, Stella is considered an oddity—beautiful and smart, insolent and cold. Stella uses her peculiar toughness to protect her slower, plainer baby sister Tina from life's harshest realities. But she also provokes the ire of her father Antonio: a man who demands subservience from women and whose greatest gift to his family is his absence.

When the Fortunas emigrate to America on the cusp of World War II, Stella and Tina must come of age side-by-side in a hostile new world with strict expectations for each of them. Soon Stella learns that her survival is worthless without the one thing her family will deny her at any cost: her independence.

In present-day Connecticut, one family member tells this heartrending story, determined to understand the persisting rift between the now-elderly Stella and Tina. A richly told debut, The Seven or Eight Deaths of Stella Fortuna is a tale of family transgressions as ancient and twisted as the olive branch that could heal them.

reviews
      • premium: True
      • source: Publisher's Weekly
      • content:

        Starred review from March 11, 2019
        Grames’s vivid and moving debut follows its heroine from a childhood in the early 20th century in a tiny Calabrian mountain village to her family’s immigration to America when she is 19 and then through a long life including a marriage about which she has decidedly mixed feelings, many jobs, and even more children. When the novel begins in the present, Stella is 100 years old and has been brain-damaged for the past 30 years following a fall that required an emergency lobotomy and that left her with a mysterious hatred for her lifelong best friend, her younger sister Tina. The novel’s unnamed narrator, one of Stella’s granddaughters, reconstructs her life history with the help of Tina and other family members. She shapes it around Stella’s numerous near-death experiences, which include being gored by a pig and choking on a chicken bone. Grames keeps the spotlight on stubborn, independent, and frequently unhappy Stella, while developing a large cast of believably complicated supporting characters and painting sensually intricate portraits of Calabria and Connecticut. With her story of an “ordinary” woman who is anything but, Grames explores not just the immigrant experience but the stages of a woman’s life. This is a sharp and richly satisfying novel.

      • premium: True
      • source: Library Journal
      • content:

        December 1, 2018

        Soho Press associate publisher Grames offers a richly imagined debut novel drawing on her grandmother's history. Beautiful, smart, and unyielding, Stella Fortuna grows up in a mountain village in early 20th-century Italy, suspected of being cursed and castigated by her father for not bending to patriarchal expectations. The family immigrates to America before World War II, and Stella continues protecting not-as-sharp little sister Tina, with their estrangement in old age framing the narrative. With a 200,000-copy first printing and a seven-city tour.

        Copyright 2018 Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

      • premium: True
      • source: Library Journal
      • content:

        February 1, 2019

        DEBUT Born three years after the first Mariastella Fortuna, whose death in 1919 at age three haunts her entire Calabrian village, Grames's prickly antiheroine suffers debilitating accidents and illnesses throughout her unhappy life. She also eschews men, marriage, and sexuality, having witnessed her mother's abuse by her father. The family eventually immigrates to America, arriving in Connecticut not to the promised house but to a moldy third-floor walk-up, but the undaunted Stella develops a sense of agency unfamiliar to women steeped in Italian cultural mores and secrets away a portion of her earnings for an escape plan. Yet she's forced into marriage by her father and, as the babies arrive, mourns her lost independence, disappearing into a space where secrets, superstition, and jealousy thrive. VERDICT Not your typical multigenerational saga, this debut novel proffers a dark version of the female experience, where motherhood leeches life from the soul. Stella is an original character ahead of her time, and readers may be troubled by her negativity and not wholly convinced by her action--but kudos to an author who can evoke such a strong reaction. For fans of Amy Tan or Isabelle Allende. [See Prepub Alert, 11/5/18.]--Sally Bissel, formerly with Lee Cty. Lib. System., Fort Myers, FL

        Copyright 2019 Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

      • premium: True
      • source: Kirkus
      • content:

        February 1, 2019
        Her many near-fatal mishaps aren't as deadly as marriage and motherhood for a fiercely independent Italian-American woman in this century-spanning novel.We know from the scene-setting preface that Mariastella Fortuna's "eighth almost-death" led to a mysterious hatred for her formerly beloved younger sister, Tina. Debut author Grames, who based the novel largely on her own family's history, launches it in a stale magic-realist tone that soon gives way to a harder-edged and much more compelling look at women's lives in a patriarchal society. Born in Calabria in 1920, Stella is given the same name as a sister who died in childhood because her father, Antonio, refused to get a doctor. He heads for America three weeks after the second Stella's birth and comes home over the next decade only to impregnate his submissive wife, Assunta, three more times. During those years, young Stella's brushes with death convince her that the ghost of her dead namesake is trying to kill her, but that's not as frightening as the conviction of everyone around her that a woman's only value is as a wife and mother. Stella has seen enough during her brutal, domineering father's visits to be sure she never wants to marry. When, after a 10-year absence, Antonio unexpectedly arranges for his family to join him in America in 1939, readers will hope that Stella will find a freer life there. But the expectations for women in their close-knit Italian-American community in Hartford prove to be the same as in Calabria. The pace quickens and the mood darkens in the novel's final third as it enfolds an ever growing cast of relatives--with quick sketches of the character and destiny of each--and Antonio's actions grow increasingly monstrous. The rush of events muddies the narrative focus, and the purpose of the epilogue is equally fuzzy. However, a tender final glimpse of elderly Tina conveys once again the strength and hard-won pride of the Fortuna women.Messily executed, but the author's emotional commitment to her material makes it compelling.

        COPYRIGHT(2019) Kirkus Reviews, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

      • premium: True
      • source: AudioFile Magazine
      • content: Listeners follow the story of Stella Fortuna and the different near-death milestones that help define her life, which stretches from childhood in a small village in rural Italy to her new life as an immigrant in America. The story is packed with rich and diverse characters, and Lisa Flanagan's narration helps bring them alive in the imagination of the listener. Her strong characterizations of the Italian characters, both female and male, are particularly notable. The story includes some harrowing and deeply uncomfortable topics, and Flanagan's steady and calm delivery avoids sensationalizing these passages. Her pacing keeps the long work moving and draws the listener into this rich and varied saga. K.J.P. � AudioFile 2019, Portland, Maine
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shortDescription

For Stella Fortuna, death has always been a part of life. Stella's childhood is full of strange, life-threatening incidents—moments where ordinary situations like cooking eggplant or feeding the pigs inexplicably take lethal turns. Even Stella's own mother is convinced that her daughter is cursed or haunted.

In her rugged Italian village, Stella is considered an oddity—beautiful and smart, insolent and cold. Stella uses her peculiar toughness to protect her slower, plainer baby sister Tina from life's harshest realities. But she also provokes the ire of her father Antonio: a man who demands subservience from women and whose greatest gift to his family is his absence.

When the Fortunas emigrate to America on the cusp of World War II, Stella and Tina must come of age side-by-side in a hostile new world with strict expectations for each of them. Soon Stella learns that her survival is worthless without the one thing her family will deny her at any cost: her...

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