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The Saint of Lost Things
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The Saint of Lost Things

3.47  ·  Rating Details ·  456 Ratings  ·  58 Reviews
Even after seven years in Wilmington, Delaware, Maddalena Grasso is still filled with longing. She misses her mother and the familiar landscape of Italy. As she sews diligently at the factory to meet her daily quota, she dreams of finally finding herself with child, after trying for so long. And she yearns for the company of her husband Antonio, whose pursuit of the Americ ...more
Paperback, 368 pages
Published October 3rd 2006 by Berkley Trade (first published 2005)
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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
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
Jan 16, 2014 Mari rated it it was amazing
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
Jun 04, 2013 Susan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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)
Sep 19, 2007 Elisha (lishie) rated it really liked it
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
Nov 13, 2012 Lily rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
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
Dec 27, 2012 Jeanne Mulcahy rated it really liked it
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.
Jun 27, 2011 Terrill rated it it was ok
It sure had characters, and a plot.
Nov 26, 2016 Kim rated it liked it
Not what I expected...
Allie rademacher
Jan 08, 2017 Allie rademacher rated it did not like it
Shelves: fresh-start
not as good as I wanted it to be
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
Catherine Elcik
In a cultural moment where page turners get all the oxygen, this book is a quiet friend full of wisdom, heart, and language as comforting as a lullaby:

"Open and close your mouth, like a fish, like Sister Clark teaching you English, like an old woman who's lost her mind and sits alone, no longer responsive to light and touch; the sound you'll make, instinctively, the most natural sound in the world is ma. Mamma. Mamma. Under god there are no accidents. He gives us answers as clear as letters on
Wisdom Kunitz
Sep 20, 2016 Wisdom Kunitz rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 9-16
Oh my goodness, I thought this book was so good. I only recommend it to those who have the patience to to read about a character's life. I know nit can get boring when they literally describe their day but they go back and forth between characters and I think it was a beautiful and interesting book about life in the view of an immigrant in America.
Aug 02, 2014 Olivermagnus rated it really liked it
Set in 1953 in a tight- Italian neighborhood in Wilmington, Delaware, Saint of Lost Things is the story of Maddalena Piccinelli Grasso, who was introduced in A Kiss From Maddelena. Seven years after the end of the first book, we find Maddelena, now married to Anthony and recovering from a miscarriage which almost cost her life. She's moved into a resignation about her life and her future. It seems that although she loves Anthony she desperately misses the Italian homeland she left against her wi ...more
Aug 08, 2013 Bap rated it liked it
Shelves: fiction, italy
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
I gave this 3 stars but it was more like 2.5 really. Part of a trilogy, it is the sequel to A Kiss from Maddalena & maybe I should have read that first as this was unsatisfying. Maddalena Grosso is the central character in this gentle story of 1950's Italian immigrants to Delaware. For me there were just too many loose ends - perhaps they are resolved in the third of the series - most notably the story lines involving the one black family living in the neighbourhood. Most of the characters w ...more
Molly Ahonen
Aug 05, 2014 Molly Ahonen rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I enjoyed this book but I think a major part of my enjoyment came from the background knowledge I'd gained from reading Ann Hood's The Italian Wife not two weeks before. This was a GoodWill find (one of many while on my honeymoon) and unfortunately, I didn't realize at the time the book was a trilogy so to speak. This is book 2, I never read book one. But I did enjoy the story and really adored the main character. I look forward to checking out the third book, All This Talk About Love, when I re ...more
Jun 09, 2014 Mary rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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
Jul 10, 2013 Julie rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction
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
Jun 16, 2009 Tara rated it really liked it
I enjoyed the book, not as much as "A Kiss form Maddalena," but it was sweet. My grandmother moved her from a small village in Italy without any family, spoke very little English and didn’t know her husband, just as Maddalena.
The book was a little difficult to follow at times. I loved how the author showed compassion towards the characters, while allowing the reader to understand their faults.
Feb 13, 2013 Raquel rated it liked it
Shelves: fiction, february
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.
Jul 28, 2008 Bea rated it really liked it
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.
Oct 21, 2008 Lindsey rated it it was ok
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.
Sep 13, 2015 Lucille rated it really liked it
Read this book yesterday. Yes, in one day. Plan to send it to a cousin who grew up in Wilmington, DE. Of interest to those with Italian immigrant family. Or anyone with an immigrant background-follows the mixed feelings about leaving the ancestral home and leaving some family behind. Some things were positive, some were negative. Mezza mezza!
Oct 01, 2011 Zella rated it liked it
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.
Oct 29, 2009 Jen rated it liked it
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.)
Aug 06, 2016 Anne rated it liked it
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
Oct 18, 2011 Anna rated it liked it
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.
Aug 29, 2008 Shiloh rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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."
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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...

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