Publication Date: September 2005
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In April 1903, the steamship Republic spills more than two thousand immigrants onto Ellis Island. Among them are Diamante, age twelve, and Vita, nine, sent by their poor families in southern Italy to make their way in America. Amid the chaos and splendor of New York, the misery and criminality of Little Italy, and the shady tenants of Vita's father's decrepit Prince Street boarding house, Diamante and Vita struggle to survive, to create a new life, and to become American. From journeys west in search of work to journeys back to Italy in search of their roots, to Vita's son's encounter with his mother's home town while serving as an army captain in World War II, Vita touches on every aspect of the heartbreaking and inspiring immigrant story.
The award-winning Italian author Melania G. Mazzucco weaves her own family history into a great American novel of the immigrant experience. A sweeping tale of discovery, love, and loss, Vita is a passionate blend of biography and autobiography, of fantasy and fiction.
Melania G. Mazzucco was born in Rome in 1966. She earned a degree in Italian literature from La Sapienza University and a degree in cinema from the Experimental Center for Cinematography. In addition to her four novels, she has written award-winning works for the cinema, theater, and radio. Vita was awarded the 2003 Strega Prize, Italy's leading literary award.
"A beautiful and moving saga, a lyrical epic, profoundly existential, full of illusion, hope, and heartache" --Giovanni Pacchiano, Il Sole 24 Ore