The Saint of Lost Things
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The Saint of Lost Things

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3.41 of 5 stars 3.41  ·  rating details  ·  256 ratings  ·  41 reviews
It is 1953 in the tight-knit Italian neighborhood in Wilmington, Delaware. Maddalena Grasso has lost her country, her family, and the man she loved by coming to America; her mercurial husband, Antonio, has lost his opportunity to realize the American Dream; their new friend, Guilio Fabbri, a shy accordion player, has lost his beloved parents.
In the shadow of St. Anthony's...more
ebook, 336 pages
Published September 30th 2005 by Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill (first published 2005)
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Kim
From November 2005 School Library Journal:
It is 1953 and Maddalena Grasso is newly arrived in the United States, trying to make sense of the unfamiliar language, strange customs, and her place in her new extended family. Her husband, Antonio, is a perpetually dissatisfied man who yearns after the American Dream: shiny new car, new home, and children. Having convinced the beautiful Maddalena to marry him and leave her family behind, he now watches over her jealously and becomes ever more frustrat...more
Ms. Wayne
From School Library Journal

Adult/High School–It is 1953, and Maddalena Grasso, newly arrived in the United States from Italy, is trying to make sense of the language, the customs, and her place in her new, extended family. Her perpetually dissatisfied husband, Antonio, yearns for the American Dream: shiny new car, new home, and children. Having convinced the beautiful Maddalena to marry him and leave her family behind, he now watches over her jealously. He feels a mixture of contempt and envy fo...more
Susan
The story begun in A Kiss from Maddalena continues seven years later with Maddalena and Antonio, the husband she has very reluctantly married and emigrated to the US with, have settled into his family's house in Delaware. The small town atmosphere of a "little Italy" in Wilmington is not entirely unlike the small town they both grew up in in Italy, and yet it is worlds away and Maddalena has not stopped longing for home, for family, and even for her first love who is now married to her older, es...more
Elisha (lishie)
This novel is a sequel to Castellani's A Kiss From Maddelena. At first I was sad because this book picks up years later and in America, not Italy. But the sadness I felt worked for the book as Maddelena misses her home country of Italy and her family. The book is about cultures and relationships, immigrants in 1950s Delaware. It truly feels real- what Maddelena is experiencing, her marriage, her feelings...And I can relate to her- she is alone in America with her husband's entire Italian (now tu...more
Lily
This story is about an Italian immigrant family. Told within that cultural context it is a wonderful insight into how these immigrants struggled to make it in the New World while also wanting to become a part of the US.

They are proud of their culture and language, but at the same time they all learn English and the American way of life. They work very hard at becoming Americans and obtaining the status that that brings. I borrowed this one from the library, but I might buy a copy and add it to m...more
Liz Barton
I enjoyed this book quite a bit--my biggest issue with it was that I wanted to know more. Everything seems to wrap up rather quickly at the end, and I wanted to know more about several of the "holes" that were skipped over--What happened after Madalena woke up in the hospital? How did Cassie and Renato react when they learned their restaurant had been vandalized? How did Julian and Helen's relationship develop?
Overall, it was a good read with a lot of interesting characters.
Jeanne Mulcahy
Some of these people were so familiar to me. Only they were recent Italian immigrants in Virginia, not Delaware, but with the same hopes and fears.
Terrill
It sure had characters, and a plot.
Mary
This was actually an advanced reading copy that I picked up probably at a used book sale. No matter,as I'm sure the actual published book could not have had many changes to the story.
Life in an Italian community with the usual things you would expect. No real surprises. Nothing terribly shocking, not that I want to be shocked. But there wasn't anything especially poignant or memorable that will stick with me except that I learned that Saint Anthony is the saint that you would pray to if you need...more
Bap
This is the second of a trilogy about the Grasso family. The first book ends with Maddolina leaving behind Italy, her family, and her first love as she bows to the wishes of her parents and family to marry Antonio Grasso who returns to Italy from America to pick his bride. This novel is set 7 years later in the city of Wilmington as she adjusts to marriage in a strange land in the early 1950's, Wilmington's little Italy, all 8 blocks is still bigger than the three streets of her small village. I...more
Kathleen
In Wilmington, Delaware, a tightly knit group of family, friends, and neighbors, all Italian immigrants, live and work not far from St. Anthony’s Church, St. Anthony being the patron saint of lost things. Continuing the story of Maddalena, now seven years into her arranged marriage to Antonio Grasso, and introducing us to new characters, Christopher Castellani again weaves a rich story honoring, not romanticizing, the Italian immigration experience in the second half of the twentieth century in...more
Mari
Another "quiet" book that captivated me. Beautifully renders the paradox of the immigrant's life: hope for the new world, grief for all that's left behind.

Elegant writing. The author switches deftly from one character's point of view to another. I admit I'm partial to the subject matter, as I love immigrant tales, but the descriptions of the daily grind and family life of the Grassos, trying to claw their way into the American Dream, made me feel like I was there with them. Felt particularly pa...more
Julie
I thoroughly enjoyed this novel about immigrant Italian-Americans creating new lives in Wilmington, Delaware in the 1950's. No doubt a great deal of my pleasure came from the fact that I grew up in that small city at the same time. Although my family was neither Italian nor recently immigrated, I grew up surrounded by the people of this book, and so much of this book rang true for me. I have lived in the Midwest for the past 40 years, and I miss the Italian influences of my youth -- the food, th...more
Em
I enjoyed this book, but I felt I never really came to understand the core characters or what made them tick. The family dynamic wasn't clear? And I felt the book sort of ended abruptly. All that negative, however it was a nice, light read.
Raquel
A good sequel to A Kiss from Maddalena, although I was left wanting to know more about the next decades in this family because I know the final book in the trilogy starts in the 2000s. Maybe there will be lots of back story in that one. In this book, we get to know Antonio, the husband, much better.

I was left with some questions about some plot points that seemed to just peter out, but overall a solid bridge to the trilogy.
Bea
This book was set in 1950's Deleware and was about Italian immigrants

It was yet another marriage story where the husband is a bit of an idiot and the wife has to figure out how to put up with him (kindof like Gap Creek just Italian immigrants opposed to mountain people).

The story actually turns out really beautifully and you want Madellana to thrive in her new country.
Gretchen Nesbit
There were parts of this book that held my attention, but I more often than not found myself sort of uninterested. It seemed to move very slowly or something. And, given that I finished it at least a week ago, I've already forgotten so much of it that I can't say much more about it. I think that speaks pretty well in itself, doesn't it? It was all right. Nothing exciting to write about.
Jen
This second novel picks up seven years after A Kiss from Maddalena. Having grown up in Delaware, I enjoyed the windown into the 1950s Wilmington, DE Italian immigrant community. The book also touches on clashes between the Italian and African-American communities during that time. (Again, full disclosure: the author is a childhood friend of my brother.)
Zella
Good, but a little slow. The main character, Maddalena, is an Italian immigrant in the 50's. She misses her home a lot and struggles to fit into the life she now has with her Italian-American husband in Wilmington, Delaware. It did give me more sympathy for my Italian immigrant mother-in-law, and was an interesting slice of life at that time.
Lindsey
I really wanted to like this book. It is about marriage, family, dreams, love...a family of italian immigrants trying to figure out their version of the American Dream. I was sadly disappointed. The characters are extremely irritating, and the book fails to live up to its promise. It is a concept that could have been so much more.
Anastasia
The structure of this novel was a little confusing, but the story was lovely. As someone of Italian heritage, I enjoyed reading all the different Italian traditions.
Anne
Quick read, and overall enjoyed this book...though some parts were started, dropped, and then hastily concluded, especially those parts concerning the Waters family. Interesting look at Italian-American culture. Bittersweet in some parts. I would be interested in his other wbook, A Kiss from Maddalena
Anna
Christopher Castellani converts ordinary characters into magical beings who both understand and relate with every human. The story is well told, full of anticipation and happiness. However, it never loses its hint of melancholy and loss.
Shiloh
This one didn't hold my interest very well. I kept day dreaming and then I'd get confused about what was going on. It was alright...some really beautiful passages, but it didn't make me want to read "A Kiss From Maddelena."
Jessica
Sequel to A Kiss from Maddalena. The story cathes up with Maddalena after she has been living in the USA for about 7 years. A story about an Italian immigrant family's search for the American Dream. I really liked this book.
Flavio Guell Casalvolone
This is one of my top favorite books. Few times I've enjoyed a book this much. The prose is heartwarming and the plot is outstandingly inspiring. I might just reread.
Gwen Thompson
Feb 05, 2013 Gwen Thompson rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone interested in Italian-American history
No need to keep hanging off the edge of the cliff at the end of A Kiss from Maddalena: the story continues in The Saint of Lost Things.
Allison Myers
Easy good read- depressing at parts and uplifting at parts. Just one that caught my eye at the library and it was better than I'd hoped!
Madame X
Disappointing and forgettable. I had high hopes for this one. I even read it while I was in Italy. I left it over there.
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The Saint of Lost Things 1 7 May 14, 2010 06:02PM  
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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 All This Talk of Love The Living (Kindle Single) (Ploughshares Solos)

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