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The Sun and Other Stars

3.94  ·  Rating Details ·  518 Ratings  ·  125 Reviews
Set in a seaside village on the Italian Riviera, this irresistible new novel by PEN/Hemingway Award-winner Brigid Pasulka tells the story of a widowed butcher and his son whose losses are transformed into love.

After losing his brother and mother within a year, twenty-two-year-old Etto finds himself adrift in his hometown, where every man’s life revolves around soccer, exce
Hardcover, 336 pages
Published February 4th 2014 by Simon & Schuster (first published August 13th 2013)
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(showing 1-30)
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Nov 14, 2013 Terri rated it really liked it
Shelves: first-reads, 4-stars
3.5 stars

I won this ARC as part of a Goodreads giveaway in exchange for an honest review.

If I were to have rated this based on the first half of the story it would have had a three star rating and if I were to have rated it based only on the last half it would have received a four star rating. I compromised and gave it a 3.5.

If you are not a fan of soccer or calcio as described in this book then this may not be the read for you. This storyline is heavy on soccer and soccer references. I in fact
Cam Mannino
Apr 18, 2014 Cam Mannino rated it it was amazing
I couldn't resist this book - but then, I didn't try very hard. I once got to spend time in a small Italian town like the fictitous San Benedetto of this book and I still walk around that little walled city in my imagination to calm myself on sleepless nights. No doubt I romanticize life there; the sun, the sense of community, the rambling streets and collection of tiny shops run by local eccentrics all make that inevitable. I'm aware that I'm romanticizing, but for once I just don’t fight it. O ...more
Jul 24, 2014 Mary rated it it was amazing
I can't recall a recent read that I loved more than this one. Captured me from the very first page, and kept me enthralled throughout. Please do yourself a favor and read this immediately. You will laugh, you will cry, you will cheer, you will be reminded of the very best parts of our humanity. Brigid, if you see this, my only fear is catching up on your other work. I don't see how I can love another novel quite as much as this one. Bravo!
Lolly K Dandeneau
Sep 17, 2013 Lolly K Dandeneau rated it really liked it
You don't have to be a Calcio (football for Europeans, soccer for Americans) fan to fall for this novel. Twenty-two year old Etto, of the town of San Benedetto, has just lost his twin brother Luca (a star player of soccer) in a motorcycle accident and then his mother drowns herself in grief, committing suicide during a swim. Luca was his father's favorite son, sharing a bond over Calcio, while Etto shared a special bond with their mother. Etto, feeling abandoned by his mother's desperate act, sp ...more
I really loved the author's first book (A Long Long Time Ago and Essentially True), but this second book just didn't do it for me.

I don't tend to be drawn to modern stories, especially with sports as a theme, but I figured I'd just give this one a try. The book started off well enough, and the writing style felt familiar and was pleasant at first. It sort of lost that feel though, and with it went my interest. I never really became that attached to any of the characters, especially the main cha
Nancy Croth
Mar 26, 2014 Nancy Croth rated it really liked it
Shelves: adult-fiction
I give this book four stars, not because of the literary quality of it but because the character development was superb. Told in the voice of the 'star' of the story, the reader becomes enmeshed in his life but also the life of the village of San Benedetto. An easy read and one to reinforce the notion of the healing power of love both from an individual and communal perspective.
Michele Bové
Nov 07, 2013 Michele Bové rated it it was amazing
The author crafts memorable characters that stick with you long after you've finished the book.
Penny McGill
As soon as I finished this book I knew that I'd come back to this book again and again and this feeling has totally surprised me. It's a story about a young man, living in a small town in Italy, working in his father's butcher shop. None of those things should appeal to me - there is very romance here, there are no period dresses, no great sweeping dialogue with the possibility for more dialogue, all the things I love - but I was torn up by Etto and his life from the moment I met him. Then (I fo ...more
Shonna Froebel
Mar 17, 2014 Shonna Froebel rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites, fiction
This novel takes place in the village of San Benedetto on the Italian Riviera. Etto is twenty-two years old and unfocused in his life. Two years ago his twin brother died in an accident, and a year ago his mother died, perhaps accident, perhaps deliberate. He lives with his father and works in his father's butcher shop. His friends try to draw him out, but he resists them, participating socially only in the most perfunctory way. Etto's brother Luca was a soccer star, a sport known as calcio here ...more
Paul Pessolano
Jan 27, 2014 Paul Pessolano rated it it was ok
“The Sun and Other Stars” by Brigid Pasulka, published by Simon and Schuster.

Category – Fiction/Literature Publication Date – February 04, 2014

Things are about to change in the Italian Riviera town of San Benedetto and the change could well be due to the sport of soccer.

Etto, at twenty-two years old, is dealing with the death of his twin brother and his mother. He is also in a negative relationship with his father, the town butcher. His life seems to be going no where. He works in his father’s
Samantha O'Leary
Mar 09, 2015 Samantha O'Leary rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2015
There was something about this book that made me want to drop everything and read it. The writing is good - a beautiful, honest voice and intriguing characters. I giggled aloud more than once while reading, yet also shed a few quiet tears. The pacing is smart and the plot has depth that isn't apparent from the beginning. It seduced me away from a cold snowy weekend and fully into summer on the Italian Riviera, and I didn't want to leave. It's a perfect vacation/beach read, if your idea of vacati ...more
Oct 06, 2014 Holly rated it it was amazing
I never understood obsession with soccer ... with Italy ... with love and grief ... until now. I wish I had been to the Italian Riviera, had Calcio in my blood or could understand a word of Italian before I read this beautiful book. So many well-written lines that flowed out and made me laugh or cry. Some of the best character development I've ever read. The author runs a writing center at a public high school. What fortunate students she must have.
Jun 26, 2016 Regina rated it it was amazing
Shelves: adult-fiction
Absolutely BRILLIANT. This is hands-down one of the best books I have read in quite a while. You don't have to be a soccer fan to appreciate the beautiful writing, clever humor, and relatable personal journey at the heart of this story. I cannot recommend this book highly enough.
Carol Tracy
Feb 19, 2014 Carol Tracy rated it it was amazing
Intelligent fiction with heart. I thoroughly enjoyed reading it, taking my time, getting to know the characters. (I even picked up some Italian slang words.) It's a great view of life in an Italian seaside village.
Jan 31, 2017 Liz rated it it was amazing
This book was so fun to listen to. The guy who reads this does an amazing job with the voices. Great story that had me transported to the little seaside village of San Benedetto every time I listened.
Ronald Dylan
May 21, 2017 Ronald Dylan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This had a slow start. It redeemed itself halfway through. Patience is its own reward.
Oct 19, 2016 Julie rated it really liked it
I loved this book and would have given it 5 stars except that there were so many characters and I'm still not sure who some of them were. The book was hard to get into but I'm glad I stuck with it.
Josh Mlot
Jul 13, 2014 Josh Mlot rated it liked it
Sometimes I'm apt to pick up a book due to something that's going on in real life, and in this case I pulled "The Sun and Other Stars" by Brigid Pasulka off my bookshelf to celebrate the World Cup this summer. Why? Because calcio (the Italian word for soccer/football) is a driving force in this novel.

This is not a story about soccer, though my love of the sport certainly helped me to enjoy the book more, appreciating some of its references and some of the philosophical musings on the game — "We
Christa  Seeley
This review originally posted at More Than Just Magic

Full disclosure – I am not a soccer fan. I played it as a young child like everyone else in my hometown but after a certain age I’d say about 80% of us quit (what can I say we’re Canadian). It just wasn’t a thing. Now that I’m older and not athletic in anyway I’ve grown even further apart from soccer. I don’t get into World Cup, I couldn’t tell you the rules and if you put a ball in front of me my attempts to kick it would be laughable.

Why am
CoffeeBook Chick
Jan 08, 2014 CoffeeBook Chick rated it it was amazing
For my full review, click here:

Without even knowing it when I accepted it, I realized within a few chapters of Brigid Pasulka's The Sun and Other Stars that this was the book I'd been waiting to read for a long time. A coming-of-age story set in Italy, mixed with the peculiarities and blessings of a small town, I was swept away with its love and grief. What a lovely story.

Etto, the butcher's son in a tiny seaside resort town on the Italian Riviera, is los
Feb 11, 2014 Melody rated it it was ok
I received this book as an Advanced Reader's Copy through Goodreads' First Reads.

The Sun and Other Stars centers on the sullen musings of Etto, a 22-year old living in a resort-town way past its heyday on the coast of Italy. He lives with his living father, who has two jobs: running the local butcher shop and ignoring his son, and the ghosts of his coulda-shoulda-woulda-been-soccer-superstar brother and their dearly missed American mother.

Inhabiting the seaside village is a healthy supporting
Feb 02, 2014 eyes.2c rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
...a celebration of life...and calcio!

Life in an Italian village like San Benedetto has inoculated Etto against joining the chatter about leaving, against being a 'big talker in a long line.' It seems that those who do talk the talk or walk the talk either never leave or can't help but eventually return. Hence Etto's reluctance to contemplate sketching big dreams. This is one of the truths that this 22 year old contemplates. There are as we discover other reasons.
Revolving around soccer or calci
Dec 06, 2013 Stacy rated it liked it
Disclaimers: 1. I won an ARC of The Sun and Other Stars on Goodreads First Reads. (This will not affect the nature of my review.) 2. This review is cross-posted on my blog. 3. 3.5 stars would be a more accurate rating.

Etto has grown up in a small town on the Italian Riviera that is a bit like a magnificent and dysfunctional family. Everyone knows everyone’s business, everyone is just a little bit weird, but they look after their own. However, after the death of his brother and his mother’s suici
Jan 01, 2014 Lynne rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Feb 04, 2014 Dots rated it really liked it
I won this ARC as part of a Goodreads giveaway in exchange for an honest review.

The Sun and Other Stars a well written story revolving around a small town on the Italian Rivera. Ultimately, it's what I would call a "calm" book. It moves slowly. Pasulka builds the city, creates all the citizens, each with side stories and personalities. I had read other reviews that said the book moved slowly at first until Zhuki arrived. But she arrived fairly quickly and the first few chapters are definitely im
Jan 29, 2014 Tracey rated it liked it
Read this review and more over at My Library Card

a copy of the book was won through Goodreads

i don't like reviewing books that didn't give me any strong feelings about it. it's easier to write about a book that you absolutely love or completely loathe. this book was just...okay. i didn't hate it but i failed to fall in love with the story. it look me a long time to start reading it. it almost got to the point when i thought i would abandon it. i am glad that i stuck with it because i enjoyed rea
Jan 14, 2015 Cameran rated it liked it
Shelves: 2015-reads
3.5 out of 5 stars.

This was the perfect book for me. Not in the sense that it was a remarkable piece of literary fiction, but because it heavily incorporated something I love into the storyline: soccer. In the midst of a reading slump that had left me disenchanted with the stories I was picking, this book was everything I needed.

Along the Italian Riviera is a small town called San Benedetto, where a young man named Etto lives with his father and amongst the same people he has known all of his li
Sharon Chance
Feb 07, 2014 Sharon Chance rated it it was amazing
Let me first say that if you know nothing about soccer, you will by the time you finished reading "The Sun and Other Stars!" Author Brigid Pasulka delivers a charming and thoughtful story of a son's difficult relationship with his soccer-obsessed father and how the game just might bring the two back together, with a little help a soccer star and his sister.

Pasulka fills this story with a large cast of fascinating characters - from Etto, the butcher's son to Fede, the "playboy" friend to Zhuki,
3.5/ 5 stars
I was given a copy of this book from goodreads for my honest review.

I really enjoyed this book. The book was really hard to get into. I didn't immediately feel a connection with any of the characters and what they were feeling. It took me around 100 pages to really want to sit down and read it. Before I hit this point in the book I didn't really want to read and it took me a long time to get to this point.

Once certain characters were introduced I was hooked. I found that Pasulka is
Kristin Shafel Omiccioli
I won an ARC from the Goodreads First Reads program for a fair and honest review.

I feel about half-and-half on The Sun and Other Stars—I half really enjoyed it and half slogged. The beginning of the book was great and engaging; I felt transported to sleepy little San Benedetto right away and appreciated Etto’s voice and felt empathy for him in his losses. I loved the San Benedetto locals, too—I thought they were all full of character and interesting back stories (however brief). Setting The Sun
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Brigid Pasulka is the author of A Long, Long Time Ago and Essentially True, which 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
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