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Vita

3.68  ·  Rating Details ·  550 Ratings  ·  56 Reviews
A New York Times Book Review Editors' Choice

In April 1903, Diamante, age twelve, and Vita, age nine, are sent by their poor families in southern Italy to make a life for themselves in America. Theirs is an unforgettable love story, a riveting tale of immigrant survival and hope that takes them from the crime-ridden tenements of Little Italy to the brutal rail yards of the
...more
Paperback, 448 pages
Published September 19th 2006 by Picador (first published 2003)
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Il desiderio di essere come tutti by Francesco PiccoloResistere non serve a niente by Walter SitiInseparabili by Alessandro PipernoStoria della mia gente by Edoardo NesiCanale Mussolini by Antonio Pennacchi
Vincitori del Premio Strega
12th out of 18 books — 1 voter
The Shoemaker's Wife by Adriana TrigianiBrava, Valentine by Adriana TrigianiVery Valentine by Adriana TrigianiTable 21 by T. Rafael CiminoLucia, Lucia by Adriana Trigiani
Italian-American Fiction
10th out of 36 books — 46 voters


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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
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Luana
Oct 24, 2012 Luana rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Di recente ho avuto in lutto in famiglia: uno dei capostipite, ormai giunto alla veneranda età di 96 anni ci ha lasciati in silenzio, così come in silenzio stava ormai conducendo la sua esistenza. Eppure, chissà quante cose aveva ancora da dire, quante cose non ha detto e invece sarebbero potute essere per noi dei tesori. Ma per effetto della provata teoria secondo cui capiamo il valore delle cose solo quando non le possediamo più, credo di aver capito troppo tardi, solo di fronte all’unico ...more
arcobaleno
Un libro che mi era piaciuto moltissimo, cui avrei attribuito tranquillamente 4 stelle, ma il commento dell'aNobiiano "In mezzo alla segale" mi ha aperto gli occhi sulla Mazzucco: UNA DELUSIONE sapere che interi brani siano stati copiati da "Guerra e pace" di Tolstoj!
Come posso votare?
Occorrerebbe una scala negativa!
Rachel Crooks
Jan 23, 2010 Rachel Crooks rated it liked it
When I visited New York City last year, I remember wondering what forgotten stories lay beneath the tapestry of the streets. "Vita" satisfied some of that curiousity. I have a tendency to glamorize the large immigration movement of the early 1900s - the Statue of Liberty, Ellis Island, the realization of the dreams of so many people in America.
From this facade, Mazzucco depicts the story within the walls: twenty Italian immigrants are packed to a small flat; young boys, unsatisfied by working
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Metta
Difficile distillare l’esperienza di questo libro. Un lungo viaggio, estenuante, sfibrante, a tratti eccessivo per le mie forze, tra pagine di elenchi di sopravissuti o no, di dettagli, precisazioni storiche, anagrafiche, descrizioni minuziose, sulla vita degli immigranti italiani all’inizio del secolo scorso in America. A partire dalle traversate logoranti verso l’ignoto, il destino, la speranza, fino alle ramificazioni possibili di questo approdo nella terra delle opportunità. Damiano e Vita. ...more
Justme
Jun 26, 2009 Justme rated it it was amazing
This book was so good. I read it in Italian though and the the dialect parts were the best! Also, some interesting historical data, like the tin postcards, I never knew that.
Juan Pablo
Sep 26, 2014 Juan Pablo rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A medio camino entre la historia y la fantasía, Vita (Vida), es una apasionante novela épica, de estupenda factura lingüística y narrativa, que cuenta la historia de la familia Mazzucco y de su emigración a los Estados Unidos en los albores del siglo XX. El relato se centra en el viaje a Nueva York, en 1903, de los primos Vita y Diamante Mazzucco, de nueve y doce años respectivamente, y reconstruye tanto el drama como la picaresca de los inmigrantes italianos a la «ciudad de las ocasiones» en ...more
Doreen
Aug 17, 2014 Doreen rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Diane, Jan F. Carol B.
Recommended to Doreen by: saw it at the library??
I HAD to rate this a FIVE! Melania Mazzucco's writing is beautiful. Her descriptions of characters, locations, and events are captivating. Mazzucco alternates time periods and locations constantly throughout the book. Some reviewers don't care for that style, but I found it mesmerizing. From one page to the next, I was anxious to know what new happiness or setback awaited Diamante and Vita, the two children who trust only each other in their new country.

Vita and Diamante sailed to New York in
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Jonny
Feb 18, 2008 Jonny rated it liked it
Foremost, this is a book about southern Italian immigrants from a small town. Also a book about the broken promise of America. And a love story that goes awry. Fatalistic and kind of dark. I liked the book--it won the Strega prize in Italy--but I wish the character development was fuller. I wasn't able to get to know Vita, or Diamante, really. The author was better at other imagery--good descriptions of places and conditions and even some other characters. The book includes family history and ...more
Nathalie Merino
I was supposed to give it 3 1/2 star but changed my mind to 3 stars. The story is touching but sometimes it is a bit "hard" to read and follow and it confused me. I would recommend it though. It is interesting to read about Italian immigrants in New York in the beginning of the 20th century and the graphic language (descriptions of people, scenery, feelings...) and the love story between Vita and Diamante is intriguing.

3 1/2 !
Elena Benvenuti
Sep 14, 2014 Elena Benvenuti rated it it was amazing
"Se l'acqua potesse parlare, resterebbe qualcosa di questi anni. Direbbe ciò che gli ha insegnato. Quanto sono grevi le cose più trasparenti, le più leggere. Quanti sforzi per trattenere quello che non puoi trattenere, l'acqua che ti sfugge tra le dita - per ritrovarti a mani vuote, con la stessa sete".
M. G. Mazzucco
Rachele
Dec 28, 2013 Rachele rated it did not like it
Il libro mi è piaciuto tantissimo, scoprire che la scrittrice abbia copiato praticamente alla lettera Tolstoj me l'ha fatto irrimediabilmente svalutare! Che tristezza!
Chiara Tinelli
Aug 22, 2016 Chiara Tinelli rated it really liked it
Shelves: bio
Ti scrivo da un posto dove non sei mai stata

Ho un debito di gratitudine nei confronti di questo libro, perché mi ha tenuto compagnia in ospedale durante i giorni di degenza per la nascita della mia seconda figlia. Cercavo un libro intrigante, sentimentale e ricco di avventure per ricordare un momento magico della mia vita, e la scelta è caduta proprio su questo romanzo biografico di Melania Mazzucco.
Vita è la ricostruzione romanzata della storia della sua famiglia a partire dal 12 aprile 1903, a
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Andrea Pérez
May 13, 2016 Andrea Pérez rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
ME HA ENCANTADO. Con ese entusiasmo de las mayúsculas y todo.

Cuesta un poco coger la narración, por no estar los diálogos marcados, por los tiempos que se entrelazan; pero una vez que estás dentro, resulta que la forma de contar la historia es genial. Apenas da explicaciones, pero resulta que no hacen falta y que todo lo que cuenta es necesario, ni más ni menos; con las frases justas y precisas. Se lee con mucha calma.
Me he enamorado de Vita tanto como Diamante y me han roto el corazón al final
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Valentina Spelta
Sep 18, 2015 Valentina Spelta rated it really liked it
Il racconto di una famiglia italiana, che vive a pieno il fenomeno dell’immigrazione negli Stati Uniti, simile a quello che attualmente vivono migliaia di persone che sbarcano qui in Europa ogni giorno.
Non è un romanzo politico, di posizione, racconta semplicemente una storia. Mi ha fatto riflettere.

Le complicazioni economico-sociali, comportate dai flussi interminabili di arrivi di persone da sfamare e dalla collocazione, anche se temporanea, di ogni singolo individuo in un qualche posto all’i
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Scott
Dec 27, 2015 Scott rated it liked it
I picked this book up in a resale shop thinking it would be similar to Upton Sinclair's The Jungle or Thomas Bell's Out of this Furnace -- an exploratory look at the experiences of immigrants assimilating into America at the turn of the last century but from a more feminine viewpoint. It is that, even more than it is a love story, but it casts a much wider net. It's more a story of humanity's milieu within eternity. There is Vita, life: full, amazing, electric, illogical, changing us, making us ...more
Judith Works
Jan 31, 2015 Judith Works rated it really liked it
Starvation and desperation were the lot of many Italians at the turn of the last century. Hundreds of thousands emigrated, many setting foot on Ellis Island. The author searches for her family roots both in Italy and in the US where the same cycle of misery followed many of the immigrants to their new home. A number returned to Italy when they failed to succeed in their new lives. Others were sent back on the next boat when they were deemed to be unhealthy.

Like her other book translated into En
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Ilaria
In verità, il voto che avrei voluto dargli era una stellina, ma dato il perfetto contesto storico e la caratterizzazione dei personaggi, sono passata a due.
La cosa che più mi ha infastidito di questo libro è lo stile. Tanto per cominciare non riesco a capire perché in alcuni punti i segni che distinguono i dialoghi non ci sono... un incubo certe volte capire quando qualcuno diceva qualcosa.
Soprattutto all'inizio, ma anche in altri punti, c'è l'uso di termini provenienti dal dialetto del meridi
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Ms. Wayne
Apr 19, 2007 Ms. Wayne added it
Shelves: italy
From the Publisher

Strega Prize-winning author Melania G. Mazzucco "works family history and documentary material into a vibrant, richly detailed novel about the Italian immigration a century ago"(Elle)

In April 1903, Diamante, age twelve, and Vita, age nine, are sent by their poor families in southern Italy to make a life in America. Theirs is an unforgettable love story, a riveting tale of immigrant survival and hope that takes them from the crime-ridden tenements of Little Italy to the brutal r
...more
Anna P
May 02, 2011 Anna P rated it really liked it
Scriitoarea impleteste povestea bunicului sau cu fictiunea, incercand sa surprinda in cele mai mici detalii viata comunitatii de italieni veniti in New York la inceputul secolului XX. Pe de o parte toate prejudecatile si discriminarile la care au fost supusi, dar pe de alta parte crimele sau afacerile necurate din cartierele de imigranti. Melania Mazzucco isi construieste lumea aceasta a iluziilor si a sperantelor in jurul a doi copii trimisi de familii in America, Vita si Diamante insa apar o ...more
Carly
Aug 24, 2013 Carly rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was a good book, but clearly was difficult to get into. I don't typically ever take this long to read a novel. It does eventually draw you in and is a good story; I probably read the last half of the book in only 2 weeks. Perhaps it was just the wrong story for my current mood or life events. I almost hate to judge the book because I allowed it to stew and mostly finished it to move on.

It is essentially an unrequited love story; a family history of sorts. Italian immigrants who come to Amer
...more
Janet
I enjoyed this book, and i'm glad that I pushed through the first third or so to get to the good part. It's dense and confusing with the flashbacks and complicated family tree, and that's why I put it on the "maybe if i read it again i'll like it more" bookshelf...second time around i'm sure I would appreciate it more. I wish Vita herself was fleshed out more as a character, and I wish there weren't so many rude interruptions about the author's research process (boring and irritating to say the ...more
Simona
Jul 21, 2014 Simona rated it it was amazing
L'albero genealogico ha sempre esercitato un fascino su di me, spingendomi a capire cosa si nasconda dietro tutto ciò, quale sia la storia della mia famiglia, dei miei avi, cercando le tracce del passato, le orme di tutto ciò che esiste oggi.
"Vita" non è solo il titolo di questo romanzo, ma è soprattutto la storia di Vita e Diamante, due ragazzini che con un po' di soldi in tasca e molti sogni giungono a New York. Una New York che accoglie circa dodicimila stranieri al giorno, stranieri carichi
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Newwhitebear
Nov 14, 2010 Newwhitebear rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: narrativa
Senza dubbio la Mazzucco scrive veramente bene, pulito e con immagini veramente straordinarie a volte.
Trascrivere i racconti raccolti dal padre, che a sua volta recepiva quelli di suo padre non è una cosa semplice per non scadere nel banale e lei ci è riuscita bene.
Il grosso neo di un voluminoso libro di quasi 500 pagine è che l'intensità narrativa non sempre è stata all'altezza, anzi a volte è stata noiosa.
Molto efficaci sono stati i cambi di scenari dal passato remoto al presente al quello pro
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Marie
Jun 14, 2015 Marie rated it liked it
I found parts of this book to be superb, and parts of this book to be a struggle. Sometimes I thought the book was worthy of 5 stars, and sometimes barely 1. My guess is that the original Italian version is probably much better. Anyway, I do think it gives a clear snapshot of many of the hardships and struggles of Italian immigrants in the early 20th century. And the story of Vita and Diamante which threads in and out of so much history is very touching. I am very grateful that I finished the ...more
Elizabeth
Jul 05, 2008 Elizabeth rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: people interested in the Italian-American immigrant experience

This book is part (mostly) fiction, part genealogical research. The author follows up on old family stories and creatively fleshes out the adventures and love-life of her grandfather who emigrated from Italy to New York for a time in the early 1900s. Parts of the book were very engaging, and I especially liked the two main characters, Diamante (the author's grandfather) and Vita (Diamante's cousin and would-be wife), but often the book didn't seem to be headed in any particular direction and the
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Steef
Vita was an interesting read, with an interesting story. But I can't help but think it tries to be a bit too diverse, which makes it lose its focus at times. It's at the same time a family history, a romance, and a historically correct (?) story on early 20th century New York, Italian immigrants in the US, the workers on the railways and in the mines and the first world war on the countryside in Italy. Parts are well documented and 'real', while other parts are made up. Throughout this story, ...more
Goedele Wellens
Sep 09, 2016 Goedele Wellens rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: roman
Het tijdsbeeld en de sfeer van New York is mooi beschreven. Het autobiografische is ook mooi verweven met het verhaal. Voor mijn gevoel was het hele boek non-fictie, het sprak geweldig tot de verbeelding. Soms had ik het gevoel dat ik stukken miste. Hoewel dat ook de bedoeling kan zijn geweest, om zo je fantasie meer de vrije loop te laten. Ondanks de periode en de bijzondere setting van het verhaal, is het een verhaal dat voor iedereen herkenbaar kan zijn.
Kat
I did not get into this book. In its first 30 pages it is super grim descriptions of the Italian immigrants' life in NYC in 1903 and then it shifts into some sort of memoir of an Italian woman (the author, presumably) looking for her ancestors in America... Sorry, Pola, I just didn't find it interesting enough, especially with Bring up the Bodies beckoning to me on my bookshelf, which BTW, I have to say is much better than Wolf Hall so far...
Anne
May 31, 2011 Anne rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
If you can get through the first third of the book, which tends to be lengthy and complicated to follow with the flashbacks and the intricate family tree, you get to the good part and you just can let go of that book. I learned so much about the life of Italian immigrants in NYC in the early 1900s and of course the crossed destinies of Vita and Diamante are fascinating.
Jill
Mar 26, 2015 Jill rated it it was amazing
This saga satisfied my longing to understand my own great grandparent's journey from Minturno to the US. It filled in details that have been lost in our family story throughout the generations. But even without my personal connection it was a wonderful epic on its own full of drama, beauty, heartache and magic.
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Melania G. Mazzucco was born in Rome in 1966. She earned a degree in Italian literature from the University of Rome "La Sapienza" and a degree in cinema from the Experimental Center for Cinematography. In addition to her four novels, she has written award-winning works for the cinema, theater, and radio. Vita was awarded the 2003 Strega Prize, Italy's leading literary award.

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