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All This Talk of Love

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3.74 of 5 stars 3.74  ·  rating details  ·  477 ratings  ·  107 reviews
It’s been fifty years since Antonio Grasso married Maddalena and brought her to America. That was the last time she would ever see her parents, her sisters and brothers—everything she knew and loved in the village of Santa Cecilia, Italy. She locked those memories away, as if Santa Cecilia stopped existing the very day she left. Now, with children and grandchildren of her ...more
Paperback, 352 pages
Published February 5th 2013 by Algonquin Books
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 1,274)
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BetsyD
Full disclosure: I'm a friend of Christopher's, though despite our once attending a second-tier university we both have fabulous careers now; mine consists of critiquing literature professionally, so if I didn't like my friend's book, I wouldn't include it on my Goodreads list.

I loved A Kiss from Maddalena and liked The Saint of Lost Things, but All This Talk of Love is even better. It was a tough assignment, talking of love without getting sentimental, but this book manages to pull it off, show
...more
Kathleen
I am someone who sticks bits of paper in pages as I read so I can go back and reread passages, possibly to record words or ideas at the end. While reading “All This Talk of Love,” I could not stop to rip up my scraps of paper; that would have been too much of an interruption.

The opening pages, my introduction to the Grasso family, pulled me right into the mother and father’s corner, Maddalena and Antonio. A mother who speaks to her son in graduate school in Boston every night at 11:01 about thei
...more
Susan
While I was glad to get back to the Grasso family, this is a very sad book, and I felt a bit cheated having missed out on the past 40 or so years of their lives. So much has happened since The Saint of Lost Things -- life, death, people have grown up and changed. But Maddalena has never been able to quite heal the wounds that come from being taken from her beloved family and Italian village and there is never any certainty that she truly loves Antonio the way she once loved, in Italy. Antonio ta ...more
Karen Blinn
Although this book has received glowing reviews in the critical review magazines read by librarians, I found it somewhat of a letdown. It chronicles the story of a married couple who came to the States from Italy and their first-generation American children. Antonio Grasso married Maddalena after he returned to Italy and viewed the available daughters from her family. She left the love of her life behind in Italy to move to America with him. She cut off all contact with her family back in Italy ...more
Julie Whelan
Castellani has a wonderfully warm and sensitive way of characterizing older people. This quality really made this book shine for me. I will always remember the older couple, Antonio and Magdellena, and their final trip to their hometown in Italy. I wished this part of the story happened earlier in the book and lasted longer. At times the beginning of the book was a bit choppy and hard to follow.The younger characters, Frankie a graduate student; Birch, his sex crazed, uncaring and unethical advi ...more
Gochrisgo
It is interesting to me that a gay male novelist chose to write a novel about identity, belonging, and community arguably without a gay male main character.

The characters are not drawn richly enough to consistently keep my attention.

The authors end note succinctly talks about his personal experience on a family trip to Rome. The story might make a memoir stronger than this fiction.
Debbie Maskus
This is an interesting book that delves into the psyche of a few of the main characters. I especially like the musings of Antonio Grasso and his feeling for his wife of 50 years. His constant acts of love for her, when all she thinks about is an old love from Italy, are amazing. Antonio fell in love with Maddalena the first time he saw her, and that love never falters. I did not like the younger son, Frankie. He is a weak and dependent individual. The only daughter, Prima, must face her own demo ...more
Sydney
I received a copy of this book through the LibraryThing Early Reviewers Program.

I really enjoyed this book. Be advised though, this is the third book in a trilogy by this author. I wish I had known that going in. However, the story is strong enough to stand on its own.

That being said, this was a very well-written, sweeping story of an elderly Italian immigrant couple and their two adult children.

There are many heartbreaks revealed along the way. The story bounces between the parents, Maddalena a
...more
Raquel
My favorite book in the Grasso family trilogy. This book was haunting and melancholy and funny and true. This book follows Maddalena in the last days of her life. We meet her three children and learn about them as well. Antonio becomes even more complex and fascinating as a character. There are a lot of secrets in this family, and regarding a few of them, the reader is the only person privy to every part of the story.

A wonderful wrap-up to Castellani's series. He's a talented writer and it feel
...more
Joseph
Italian-American families. Growing old. Father in one world, son in another. I can't relate. As the youngsters would say, "Not."

Castellani cast his not-so-subtle characters in a subtle way. He told just enough that we know each one intimately. He's also achieved a rare feat, capturing the essentials of love and craziness in an Italian family. If those two forces are stereotypical, his treatment was not. There was genuine understanding of why and how such cultural norms make sense. The lives of
...more
Mari
The third book in a series about an Italian girl who comes to America as a young bride and leaves behind her family. This last installment skips ahead several decades. Maddalena is old and suffers from dementia. She and her husband own a successful restaurant and a nice home. They have lost a child tragically, but have two healthy, grown children and four grandchildren.

The novel follows not just Maddalena but her grown children, Frankie and Prima, as they wrestle with universal, everyday struggl
...more
Marty
I really wanted to love this book, but at times I got tired of the endless family dynamics and the binds of love they talked of.
I liked the daughter until "the big event" but after that not much was heard from her.
The book is well written and moves well until the last go around and gets a bit bogged down.
Eson
Very quickly into this book, it's clear that the storytelling is smooth, fluid, and lulling. It's easy to fall in love with this family in a deep, rooted way. You want so badly for this family to be okay, to clear away the barriers to their happiness.

The books grows on you, and by the middle, it's worked its way inside. I appreciate the build-up, the way the story woos you. After all, it's about love. :)

Most of all, it was a great, grand love story in all its shades: romantic love, family love,
...more
Joni
The reviews of this book made it seem more interesting than I found it, although I still finished it. It was not my favorite - too much like watching someone else's family life with no good conclusion - you just stopped watching. I wouldn't read it again.
Bonnie
Finished this book tonight. Perhaps I should have read the others first. I found the characters harsh and unlikeable. Depressing and sad, especially Prima and Frankie. I did like the love story of Maddalena and Antonio.
Mary
Somewhat uneven and overwritten at times, so I really had to push myself to finish. Characters were likable... sense of place and emotion were well done. Liked it.
Flora
A strong 3. Maddalena left Vito for life in America and grouses toward the end that maybe the American experience was overrated. An understandable sentiment, given the suburban ennui issues her children deal with. She doesn't see all this (she's particularly blind to Frankie's faults, since he's her favorite) but it's still pretty clear that her children are muddling through.

The book is nicely written and I guess I'm happy that there's a sequel to "A Kiss for Maddalena," one that has some lovely
...more
Mary
I loved this sweet, tender story of the Grasso family. Antonio and Maddelina Grasso immigrated to this country over fifty years ago from Italy. When their daughter, Prima, surprises them with a trip back to their small hometown in Italy, Maddelina refuses to go. This story has many layers. The have a son, who is in his thirties, still studying in graduate school. Another son died when he was fifteen. Maddelina always felt she had married the wrong person, and Antonio struggles with who will keep ...more
Sharon
I adored this book for its truth and honesty. The characters from this wonderful and very real Italian immigrant family all come to life beautifully. The relationships are deeply and perceptively portrayed in all their complexity. It is astonishing to be able to express grief, loss, jealousy, ego, resentment, joy -- all of the many feelings and experiences one finds in a family -- and yet the underlying feeling that comes across through it all is love, if even at times in its most imperfect form ...more
Lisa
I could relate to this book in so many ways. Good read for 2nd generation Italian Americans who are really American Italians!
It
Adam Olenn
A difficult book to read, what with tears in my eyes the whole time. Buy several and give them to your family.
Jennifer Garcia
I chose this book because of the Italian/Italian-American family dynamic. Being Italian-American myself I love to read books like this, and this one did not disappoint.

Castellani took an Italian family and used real life and sensitive subjects to stir up their family. And like any typical family: some loved too much, others not enough, some thought they weren't loved at all, and another was the what she thought the conductor that kept the family glued together. In the end, nothing was at it see
...more
Michael
Christopher Castellani's third novel is a beautifully evocative examination of a family greatly affected by a past tragedy and their ethnic culture. Antonio and Maddalena Grasso came to America from Santa Cecila, Italy fifty years ago. Together they had three children, but lost one tragically years ago. Now their remaining children and grandchildren have each formed a family construct based on their individual experiences, while Antonio and Maddalena each deal with their personal grief in solita ...more
Virginia
Married to a 2nd-generation Italian-American whose relatives neither remembered nor talked about the old country (except Nonno, who was a man of few words-- all I got was his view of Vesuvius from the back stoop), I was intrigued by the NYT review of this book.

I've been reading the trilogy straight through like a novel in 3 parts. Each book stands on its own, and is removed from the others by decades.

The first (A Gift from Maddalena) is highly recommended. It's a keyhole view from a tiny Itali
...more
Miranda
This novel struck me in a way that I can’t quite explain. I really enjoyed it, nearly loved it – the only thing holding me back from loving it was that, at times, I felt it moved a bit slowly. But I liked the plot – members of the Grasso family each having at least one difficulty they need to come to terms with, both internally and externally – and I felt the characters were really well developed and consistent throughout the novel. Maybe the book struck me because I connected with each of the c ...more
E
Maddalena and Antonio Grasso, married for fifty years, are Italian immigrants living in America . Not once have they returned to their village of Santa Cecilia to visit. Maddalena never opened the mail she received from her family. She closed the door on that part of her life. All This Talk of Love by Christopher Castellani is an in depth depiction of the Grasso family.
The Grasso's had three children, two sons and a daughter. Their first son, Tony, committed suicide. The Grasso's are a close fam
...more
John Weeks
Fear and Loving in La Famiglia

In Christopher Castellani’s third novel, All This Talk Of Love, the members of the Italian-American Grasso clan struggle to connect while privately mourning the family they never had.

Marcel Proust would have raised a cup of tea and applauded the novel’s finely nuanced obsession with the past. Even more impressively, not since Simone de Beauvoir’s “The Age of Discretion” have meditations on aging, decaying, and dying been so powerfully and so painfully rendered. Th
...more
Gaele
An examination of the multiple permutations of love, loss and memory all viewed from the eyes of Italian immigrants, this touching and poignant book opens a door into love, and all of the ways it can shelter, protect, shield and not surprisingly, thwart.

Told from several perspectives, the characters all begin to form an oddly poetic perspective for the reader, as everyone’s views combine to give you a fuller picture. Like all families, the Grassos have their levels of dysfunction, secrets, trag
...more
Deborah Bussey
There is something magical about a book that leaves you still very much in touch with the characters as if they are real. This is a beautiful story of family and unconditional love that resonates with you even if you are not Italian. The writing is exquisite, particularly how Castellani shifts so seamlessly from one character's point of view until the other. Although satisfying, I wanted a bit more from the ending. Maybe because I was so engaged with the Grasso family and in all of their codepen ...more
Crystal
All This Talk of Love follows an average seeming Italian-American family, the Grasso’s. It goes through several years from the perspectives of the parents, Antonio and Maddalena, and their two grown children, Prima and Frankie.

Like any family, the Grasso’s have secrets, but they try to remain as close as possible, despite their differences. It was interesting to see the different ways the two generations viewed their responsibilities in life, with Antonio and Maddalena trying to keep all the tra
...more
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Mansfield Public ...: All This Talk of Love 1 4 Jul 04, 2013 08:08AM  
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Christopher Castellani was born and raised in Wilmington, Delaware. His parents immigrated to the United States from a small village in Italy in the years following World War II, and their experiences have been a significant inspiration. A Kiss From Maddalena, Christopher's first novel, was published by Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill in April 2003, and was subsequently published in Australia, the ...more
More about Christopher Castellani...
A Kiss from Maddalena The Saint of Lost Things The Living (Kindle Single) (Ploughshares Solos) All this talk of Love The Art of Perspective: Who Tells the Story

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