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Sacred Time

3.46 of 5 stars 3.46  ·  rating details  ·  1,210 ratings  ·  78 reviews
The bestselling author of Stones from the River delivers her most ambitious and dramatic novel yet -- the unforgettable story of an endearing, but also flawed, Italian American family.

In December 1953 Anthony Amedeo's world is nested in his Bronx neighborhood, his parents' Studebaker, the Paradise Theater, Yankee Stadium -- and in his imagination, where he longs for a st

Paperback, 256 pages
Published September 7th 2004 by Touchstone (first published 2003)
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The story opens in an Italian neighborhood in the Bronx in the 1950s. Our narrator is a young boy named Anthony who is frustrated when his cousins and aunt move into his cramped apartment over the holidays. The story morphs into something new as our narrator changes to Anthony’s mother and then to his aunt Leonora, then his cousin. The book covers three time periods as well; first the ‘50s, then the ‘70s, and finally the early 2000s.

We watch as the family grows and changes over the course of th
Hegi has a great way with words -- especially stream-of-consciousness type words. Her stuff is really hard to beat in terms of character development and general flow of the story. I particularly liked how she began with "Anthony's" story, went through the stories of the women in his life, and then ended again with his story. This "full-circle" writing is my favorite kind of story-telling.

So why only three stars? My main complaint (and call me a prude, if you must) was the excess of SEX in this b
Ursula Hegi is hands down my favorite author. She has this way of writing where you feel as if you are going through everything right along with the characters. You feel their pain, joy, fear, with them. I don't think I have ever read a book written by her where I did not cry.This one was no exception. This book takes you through the complex family dynamics of an Italian family after they suffer a horrendous tragedy. You glimpse into how each member deals differently with grief and guilt for the ...more
Rich, satisfying saga of two Italian American families spanning the preiod from the Bronx in the 50's to post-9/11 Brooklyn. Hegi is a genius in evoking the perceptual and emotional world of her vivid characters, the power of their secret pleasures and pains, and their bonds in love and loss. Her prose is captivating and often poetic. She plumbs well the resilience of families to surmount challenges they are all subject to. Her major concern here is with the recovery of the accidental loss of a ...more
Mike  Davis
Hegi is a highly rated author and I picked this book up while browsing in a used book store. It follows an Italian family through roughly three generations and is well written, gritty in places, with Hegi's run-on thoughts in places and great character development. Having said that, I'm not sure the point of the novel aside from the treatment of family secrets and guilt. A good book, but not a great one and certainly worth reading for Hegi fans.
I literally could not remember what this book was about while I was reading it. Every time I picked it up, I thought, "what is this about again?" I enjoyed it while I was reading it, but barely retained anything about the book.

Good writing, but not a compelling story, and the title doesn't make a ton of sense.
I am giving this one 3 stars, because I liked the story but a lot of it was kind of slow for me. The different chapters from the various characters' perspectives made it interesting. I also liked how the writer took me through time, over a span of 50 years.
C. Scott
Interesting glimpse into the life of a young boy and his family living in The Bronx in the 1950's. The vast differences between growing up in NY compared to growing up in the south, the Deep South, actually just boiled down to location, temperature, and culture. But, in the end the truth is that we all grow up with hopes and dreams that are interrupted by the reality and sometimes tragedy of life. The test begins when we step into or are pushed into adulthood. I gave it only two stars because I ...more
Ursula Hegi has a gift for telling tragedy, and family stories, and this book excels in both those categories. That it is about being Italian American is simply an added bonus, from my point of view, although I acknowledge that this characteristic is, to a degree, important to the story. The story this reminds me of is, surprisingly, We Need to Talk About Kevin - not because the stories are similar, though they have similarities, but because of the total intimacy present in each narrative, discl ...more
Sacred Time is the story of an extended Italian-American family told in 3 distinct periods of time. In the first section, which takes place in the 1950s, a horrific tragedy takes place. The second portion of the book takes place in the 1970s, and the third and final section in the early 2000s. Each section has two separate chapters told through the perspective of two main characters.

There were portions of this book that I really liked. I felt the first section, set In the 1950s, was by far the s
Since I loved Stones from the River so much, I thought I might enjoy another Hegi book. It took me a long time to make my way past the beginning of this book. While I enjoyed the stories of family, and was moved by the pain of carrying secrets, I found this book a bit too heavy and slow at times. Hegi is poetic and philosophical, with some beautiful scenes, but it was not my favorite.
Jan Kellis
Another fabulous Ursula Hegi story! This one takes place in the Bronx, within a family who suffers a horrible loss. Hegi switches narrators, so each section of the book is told from a different perspective, and the reader sinks into the story and lives with the characters while they adjust to the new reality and figure out how to go on without one of their own.

emi Bevacqua
When I read Ursula Hegi's Stones from the River I assumed she must've been a German dwarf to be able to relate that story so convincingly; and now I can't believe she's not a New York Roman-Catholic Italian. Hegi manages to sound more authentic New York Roman-Catholic Italian than my husband's actual New York Roman-Catholic Italian family does!

Sacred Time is the story of four generations of Amedeos in the Bronx. Grandmother Riptide and her husband have an amazing love story beginning with their
Seven-year-old Anthony Amedeo's comfortable life with his caterer father, Victor, and his mother, Leonora, is disrupted when his ne'er-do-well Uncle Malcolm goes "elsewhere" (a family euphemism for prison) and his Aunt Floria moves into the Amedeo apartment with her eight-year-old twin daughters. They arrive just before Christmas 1953, and soon afterwards, one of the twins plunges to her death from an open window. The tragedy will define the lives of everyone in the two families and change them ...more
Wanda Brenni
This is a story that rambles not quite holding interest until it turn with a sudden fall and making intent clear; how the everyday and those pitfalls intertwine,affecting all. As always with Hegi, a novel well worth reading
I'm not sure whether I liked it or not so I'm giving it a solid 3*. The story is told from the viewpoint of 4 different people throughout the span of the book.
It's wonderfully written and the descriptions of emotions and events are outstanding. Hegi really has a way of bringing pictures to your mind.
However, there's so much pain and sorrow that 2 of the viewpoints were really, really hard to read. With the wonderful wording, the pain really came through.
Also, there were times where Hegi dwelt
Sep 27, 2009 Garlan rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: everyone
This was a another great story from Hegi about a family living in the Bronx in the 1950's. Told from several points of view over a span of 40+ years, we're introduced to Anthony, Floria, Leonora and Belinda, as they tell their story about family and what binds us to one another, all the while dealing with tragedy, loss, guilt and forgiveness. Hegi gives each character depth and peronality, but especially Floria and Leonora. I would have given the book 5 stars, but for one section that I didn't c ...more
This is my least favorite book of hers, so far. It follows several members of an Italian family in New York from the 1950s to the present. I liked parts of it but overall it just wasn't that good.
Carol Catinari
So far, so good. This is the third Ursula Hegi book, and it's surprising how different each one is, both the settings and characters. Yet she writes well for each one. I have this in the car, cd version...and am enjoying the reader also.

Now that I'm finished.... I liked this one. The story and the main event are told from each of the main character's points of view. Each character is an interesting character, and of course, affected by the focal event of the book. Ursula Hegi is on my list of au
I picked this up from the library when I had about 2 minutes to find a book. Since I had loved Stones from the River, I figured I was safe with Ursula Hegi. It wasn't until I got home and had time to open it that I realized I had already read it about 8 years ago. I have carried a memory of this book (a particular scene/revelation) with me all these years, but could never remember the name of the book. Unfortunately, it wasn't a good memory--more of a that-was-really-annoying memory. So, I won't ...more
The characters were extremely well drawn, especially the women. However, the attempt to tie in the premise of the book, e.g. how the death of a family member affects the rest of the family over the next 2 or 3 decades, was muddled at best. I don't think the point was strongly made that the death of the family member had any real bearing on the actions of the rest of the family members.

This was the 3rd book I've read by this author and while I recognized the deft touch with the characters and ima
I listened to it and started off loving it and wondering how it could get anything less than 4+ stars as it's rating. The characters were strong, the story was rich... and then it crashed, or maybe just spiraled, or better yet, slumped. It seemed that as the story progressed and the narrators changed, it got more depressing and "dwelly" to the point where I just couldn't wait for the dang thing to be over. Too bad the author lost her voice to the dark side because I felt her writing was rich, ev ...more
Ilyhana Kennedy
This is not a book to lift the spirits. There's little cheer on any page. The central theme is that of wounding, of damage done that cannot be undone, of secrets carried for life. I found it a dreary story.
The story is shaped from episodes of different family members' lives across generations of time with large gaps between. This structure didn't hang together well for me.
The highly analytical style of introspection is quite a wade.
I did find the ending a surprisingly good resolution.
For me, this novel was very erratic in holding my interest. I had to switch to another book before I could come back to it and finish it. Much of the writing is compelling but some seems disjointed.

SECOND READING: My second reading slightly elevated my opinion about the readability of Hegi's novel. She explores those broad, important themes of guilt and forgiveness, manipulation and passivity, loneliness and fidelity, but her characters just don't capture me.
A good read. A reminder of how one event can change the life of family members...forever, as the author takes us from the '50's through post 9-11.
This is a huge departure from the other books Hegi has written. I listened to the audio book, and all the narrators were fabulous, but I just couldn't get into this book. I think the main thing was that I kept on thinking "This is so not like her other books." I know I shouldn't have thought that, but I loved Stones from the River so much. Maybe I'll have to try again later and do a better job of not thinking of the author.
This book is about an italian family in new york told from the perspective of two sisters-in-law and a son. They discuss the impact of a tragedy that occurred when both families lived together, the death of one twin bianca. The son did not stop her from “flying” to see her father. The final chapters presents a quiet, powerful, and a painful description of the dying thoughts of one of the women.
Carroll Susco
"and I wanted to stop time there, when everyone I loved lived close by; when I believed my parents would be together forever, and that the entire world was made up of apartment buildings with tar beaches and fire escapes...."
I was a little worried to find the characters were an Italian family but by the end of the book I saw how this resonates for everyone. A good read. Couldn't put it down.
I liked the plot and the characters in general, but the event around which this novel is built didn't ring true to me. The way the family handled it was deftly drawn and painfully believable, but the event itself wasn't developed enough to seem like something that would have been done by the family member who did it. So the center didn't hold, though the rest was quite well done.
I read this too fast, and on a plane, to be able to give it four stars. Ursula Hegi is certainly one of my new favorites. I love the way she brings the reader into each character in this and the other books I've read. We're never in danger of tunnel vision; never stuck in the mind of any one person. (Aside: I wish more humans could broaden their views in this way.)
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Ursula Hegi is the author of Sacred Time, Hotel of the Saints, The Vision of Emma Blau, Tearing the Silence, Salt Dancers, Stones from the River, Floating in My Mother's Palm, Unearned Pleasures and Other Stories, Intrusions, and Trudi & Pia. She is the recipient of more than thirty grants and awards.
More about Ursula Hegi...
Stones from the River Floating in My Mother's Palm The Vision of Emma Blau Children and Fire Salt Dancers

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