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All This Talk of Love

3.72  ·  Rating Details  ·  529 Ratings  ·  116 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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Feb 20, 2013 BetsyD rated it it was amazing
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
Aug 09, 2015 Michael rated it really liked it
Maddalena years in Santa Cecila Italy is filled with hurt and painful memories.Leaving her hometown behind her after marrying was the best decision that she ever made. Antonio, her husband feels the same way, thinking that it was best that they leave the past behind them and restart their future. It has been over a decade since the last time they been home and they plan to keep it that way. Frankie a dear child of the couple, is an introverted shy man that prefers to books than to party with str ...more
Jul 25, 2013 Kathleen rated it it was amazing
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
Jun 10, 2013 Susan rated it really liked it
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
Jun 27, 2013 Miranda rated it really liked it
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
Karen Blinn
Feb 17, 2013 Karen Blinn rated it liked it
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
Jun 05, 2013 Julie Whelan rated it liked it
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
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
Jan 20, 2013 Debbie Maskus rated it liked it
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
Apr 06, 2016 Sydney rated it really liked it
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
Feb 20, 2013 Raquel rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction, february
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
May 26, 2014 Joseph rated it really liked it
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
Feb 03, 2014 Mari rated it it was amazing
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
Aug 09, 2015 Sheri rated it did not like it
Hah. So much for an inflated rating. Yes, this was just a stupid book but I did not anticipate just how stupid it would be. I am not sure how or where it came to be on my to-read shelf, but it should not have been there.

I was completely surprised upon finishing to see that it was written by a man. I was convinced it was some 60 year old woman's fantasy of how life should be. The story is about "family" and it is a family of ridiculousness. The matriarch (87 year old Maddalena) is vibrant and dan
Il confine dei libri
Salve a tutti ragazzi,
ho appena finito di leggere: "Tutto quello che pensiamo quando parliamo d'amore" di Christofer Castellani donatomi in anteprima dalla Newton Compton. Il libro ci racconta di Maddalena e Antonio, due italiani emigrati in America per lavoro. Maddalena ha dovuto sposare Antonio per volere della

famiglia abbandonando per sempre l'uomo di cui era innamorata, Antonio, insieme a suo fratello Mario, ha un ristorante italiano che permette una bella vita a tutta la sua famiglia: l'Al
Feb 02, 2013 Marty rated it really liked it
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.
Feb 19, 2013 Joni rated it it was ok
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.
Mar 22, 2013 Bonnie rated it it was ok
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.
Jul 29, 2013 Mary rated it liked it
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.
Sep 09, 2014 Flora rated it liked it
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
Jan 26, 2015 Mary rated it really liked it
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
Mar 28, 2014 Sharon rated it it was amazing
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
May 25, 2013 Lisa rated it really liked it
I could relate to this book in so many ways. Good read for 2nd generation Italian Americans who are really American Italians!
Adam Olenn
Aug 06, 2013 Adam Olenn rated it it was amazing
A difficult book to read, what with tears in my eyes the whole time. Buy several and give them to your family.
Elayne Clift
Mar 23, 2014 Elayne Clift rated it really liked it
Heartwarming tale of an Italian-American family, with all its foibles, frustrations, loyalties, love.
Feb 16, 2016 Mirella rated it it was amazing
All This Talk of Love is a poignant novel about an Italian-American family and their family dynamics. At the heart of the story is Maddalena, the matriarch, a woman with an abiding love for her adult children, Frankie and Prima.

Maddalena speaks with Frankie every night on the phone, at the end of which they tell each other, 1CI love you. 1D It is this that the title is based upon. Each character faces adversity in their lives. Antonio and Maddalena still grieve the death of their 15 year old so
Jennifer Garcia
Dec 29, 2012 Jennifer Garcia rated it really liked it
Shelves: arc
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
Oct 13, 2012 Michael rated it really liked it
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
Jun 19, 2013 Virginia rated it really liked it
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
Apr 25, 2013 E rated it it was amazing
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
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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
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