The Sun and Other Stars
By Brigid Pasulka
(Simon & Schuster, Hardcover, 9781451667110, 336pp.)
Publication Date: February 4, 2014
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Set in an Italian seaside village where every man’s life revolves around soccer, this compelling novel tells the story of a widowed butcher and his son whose losses are transformed into love.
The death of his twin brother and subsequent suicide of his mother leaves twenty-two-year-old Etto adrift in his small town on the Italian Riviera. A misanthrope and a cynic, Etto is faced with the seemingly impossible prospect of cobbling together the remaining pieces of his life, including his mostly nonexistent relationship with his father, the town butcher.
Things begin to change for Etto when Yuri Fil, a scandalized Ukrainian soccer star and his tough-love sister, Zhuki, arrive in town, and sweep him into their universe of soccer, celebrity, laughter, and fierce loyalty. Under their influence, Etto begins to reconstruct his relationship with his father and learns a few life lessons: that perhaps the game of soccer isn’t just a waste of time—and that San Benedetto, his father, love, and life itself might have more to offer him than he ever believed possible.
Loosely following the trajectory of Dante’s Divine Comedy, Etto finally learns to make peace with both the tragedy of his past and the direction of his future.
Brigid Pasulka spent the summer of 1998 as an au pair for a family in Alassio, Italy, where she was first introduced to small town Riviera life, the Italian obsession with soccer, and the butcher shop that features in her second novel, The Sun and Other Stars. Her debut novel, A Long, Long Time Ago and Essentially True, won the 2010 Hemingway Foundation/PEN Award and was a Barnes & Noble Discover Great New Writers selection. Pasulka currently lives in Chicago with her husband and runs the writing center at a public high school. Visit her website at BrigidPasulka.com.
"With a magician's sleight of hand, Brigid Pasulka once again conjures?up a?stunning?chorus of?characters. . .The Sun and Other Stars is storytelling at its best, and Pasulka has made magic with this wise, poignant?tale of love, community, and the sport that brings them all together!"
?eoeHow in the world did I just lose my heart to the entire village of San Benedetto, to its butchers and playboys and slackers and, most of all, its large population of swaggering elderly (mea culpa) soccer fans? Or maybe the question is this: How can a story about unbearable grief be so funny, so bawdy, so vibrant with the earthy joys of ordinary life? To that one, I know the answer: when it is told by someone with the uncommon wit of the fearless, tender, wise Brigid Pasulka. The Sun and Other Stars is, as its title promises, a wondrous and radiant novel.?e
?eoeWhat a smashing novel. Even more?intricately braided and moving than her excellent first one. Fans of both Dante and the Azzuri will find plenty to relish and celebrate.?e
Praise for A Long Long Time Ago and Essentially True
"Resonant moments. . .appealing characters and keen observations."
?eoeHer sweet, generous novel offers hope that her appealing heroine and a nation to often brutalized frequently by the forces of history will both have better tomorrows.?e
?eoeIn this life-affirming novel of past and present, Brigid Pasulka twines the bright colors of ?fable with the subtler tones of disillusionment, survival, and rebirth. . . .Rarely does a novel succeed so well in evoking place and history, especially with a story as winning as this one. A marvelous debut.?e
?eoeAt once haunting and exquisitely vibrant, Pasulka's original tale is a treasure, transcending history, time, and place.?e
??eoeGrand in scope, yet meticulous in detail, Brigid Pasulka's generous and affectionate novel finds universal truths in both its most-dramatic moments and its most-intimate observations. A compassionate, elegant, and moving debut.?e
?eoeMagical. . .Pasulka?e(TM)s delightful debut braids together two tales of old and new Poland.?e
?eoeThis first-time novelist has an indisputable talent for a tale well-told. Like any good host, she makes us feel as if we've found a small piece of home.?e
?eoeOne of the many gifts of Brigid Pasulka's debut novel, is that it transports us through the outer layers straight into the heart of Poland, brilliantly evoking the country's emotional landscape. . . .A Long Long Time Ago & Essentially True?rings hauntingly, echoingly real.?e