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Sacred Time

3.54  ·  Rating details ·  2,052 ratings  ·  107 reviews
The bestselling author of "Stones From the River" delivers her most ambitious and dramatic novel yet -- the unforgettable story of an endearing, but flawed, Italian American family.In December 1953 Anthony Amedeo's world is nested in his Bronx neighborhood, his parent's Studebaker, the Paradise Theater, Yankee Stadium -- and in his imaginatin, where he longs for a stencil ...more
Audio CD, 0 pages
Published December 2nd 2003 by Simon & Schuster Audio (first published 2003)
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Average rating 3.54  · 
Rating details
 ·  2,052 ratings  ·  107 reviews

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Nov 04, 2014 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I listened to it and started off loving it and wondering how it could get anything less than 4+ stars as it's rating. The characters were strong, the story was rich... and then it crashed, or maybe just spiraled, or better yet, slumped. It seemed that as the story progressed and the narrators changed, it got more depressing and "dwelly" to the point where I just couldn't wait for the dang thing to be over. Too bad the author lost her voice to the dark side because I felt her writing was rich, ev ...more
Emi Bevacqua
Nov 02, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, twins
When I read Ursula Hegi's Stones from the River I assumed she must've been a German dwarf to be able to relate that story so convincingly; and now I can't believe she's not a New York Roman-Catholic Italian. Hegi manages to sound more authentic New York Roman-Catholic Italian than my husband's actual New York Roman-Catholic Italian family does!

Sacred Time is the story of four generations of Amedeos in the Bronx. Grandmother Riptide and her husband have an amazing love story beginning with their
This is a family story, spanning decades, that is subdivided into 3 books. Each book is a different time period in family's life. If I could rate each book individually, Book 1 would be 3.5-4 stars; Book 2 would be 1 star (which may be generous); and Book 3 would be 2.5-3 stars. Book 3 ties up a loose end from Book 1, which was a good way to close the story. ...more
Sacred Time is the story of an extended Italian-American family told in 3 distinct periods of time. In the first section, which takes place in the 1950s, a horrific tragedy takes place. The second portion of the book takes place in the 1970s, and the third and final section in the early 2000s. Each section has two separate chapters told through the perspective of two main characters.

There were portions of this book that I really liked. I felt the first section, set In the 1950s, was by far the s
Becky Marietta
Hegi has a great way with words -- especially stream-of-consciousness type words. Her stuff is really hard to beat in terms of character development and general flow of the story. I particularly liked how she began with "Anthony's" story, went through the stories of the women in his life, and then ended again with his story. This "full-circle" writing is my favorite kind of story-telling.

So why only three stars? My main complaint (and call me a prude, if you must) was the excess of SEX in this b
Feb 04, 2014 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Since I loved Stones from the River so much, I thought I might enjoy another Hegi book. It took me a long time to make my way past the beginning of this book. While I enjoyed the stories of family, and was moved by the pain of carrying secrets, I found this book a bit too heavy and slow at times. Hegi is poetic and philosophical, with some beautiful scenes, but it was not my favorite.
Mar 31, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: owned-books
I am giving this one 3 stars, because I liked the story but a lot of it was kind of slow for me. The different chapters from the various characters' perspectives made it interesting. I also liked how the writer took me through time, over a span of 50 years. ...more
Jun 24, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This story which takes place from the 1953 to 2002 explores how one incident alters the lives of the members of a large Italian family in the Bronx. The many characters are interesting and quirky as they each try to come to grips with the problems in their lives.
Nov 07, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The story opens in an Italian neighborhood in the Bronx in the 1950s. Our narrator is a young boy named Anthony who is frustrated when his cousins and aunt move into his cramped apartment over the holidays. The story morphs into something new as our narrator changes to Anthony’s mother and then to his aunt Leonora, then his cousin. The book covers three time periods as well; first the ‘50s, then the ‘70s, and finally the early 2000s.

We watch as the family grows and changes over the course of th
Mar 02, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Ursula Hegi is hands down my favorite author. She has this way of writing where you feel as if you are going through everything right along with the characters. You feel their pain, joy, fear, with them. I don't think I have ever read a book written by her where I did not cry.This one was no exception. This book takes you through the complex family dynamics of an Italian family after they suffer a horrendous tragedy. You glimpse into how each member deals differently with grief and guilt for the ...more
Kaethe Schwehn
Aug 10, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Toward the end of this novel one of the characters says "I suspect what continues to harm long beyond the act of violence in the silence." The act of violence happens early in the story and so the majority of the book is about how the characters live inside their own silences after the event--and how the silence changes each of them differently. The characters are rich and distinct and though we witness them moving forward in time, plot is not the engine that drives the book. If you're a plot/ac ...more
Rich, satisfying saga of two Italian American families spanning the preiod from the Bronx in the 50's to post-9/11 Brooklyn. Hegi is a genius in evoking the perceptual and emotional world of her vivid characters, the power of their secret pleasures and pains, and their bonds in love and loss. Her prose is captivating and often poetic. She plumbs well the resilience of families to surmount challenges they are all subject to. Her major concern here is with the recovery of the accidental loss of a ...more
Mike  Davis
Nov 02, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
Hegi is a highly rated author and I picked this book up while browsing in a used book store. It follows an Italian family through roughly three generations and is well written, gritty in places, with Hegi's run-on thoughts in places and great character development. Having said that, I'm not sure the point of the novel aside from the treatment of family secrets and guilt. A good book, but not a great one and certainly worth reading for Hegi fans. ...more
I literally could not remember what this book was about while I was reading it. Every time I picked it up, I thought, "what is this about again?" I enjoyed it while I was reading it, but barely retained anything about the book.

Good writing, but not a compelling story, and the title doesn't make a ton of sense.
I liked the plot and the characters in general, but the event around which this novel is built didn't ring true to me. The way the family handled it was deftly drawn and painfully believable, but the event itself wasn't developed enough to seem like something that would have been done by the family member who did it. So the center didn't hold, though the rest was quite well done. ...more
Jan 25, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition

Sacred Time was a good book - good character development and believable characters. I really enjoyed how the book was told from different points of view. I do like this style of writing. This allows me to have a better understanding of each character, and have much more empathy for them as well.

I would have liked Floria's point of view at the end of the book to have been seemed to go on and on, while Anthony's pov seemed way to short. Otherwise, a good book. I would also have liked
Nov 15, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The Amideo family - their fears,guilts, secrets and for Anthony a hope of redemption. A picture of an Italian family in the Bronx they shared. The way they laughed, cried and loved over the different periods of their life. Very human, funny at times and sad but I didn't want to stop reading. ...more
Oct 19, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Hmmm...this book could've been so much more, I think. A major event happens and we learn how it effected individual lives...kind of...sort of...I didn't care anything about any of these people so this book wasn't great for me. ...more
Pjo Riley
Dec 12, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorite-fiction
Sacred Time's post-WWII working class Bronx neighborhood comes alive through Hegi's fine prose and textured characters. The love-hate interplay of close-knit family members and in-laws. The enduring heartbreak following one wrong statement by a child. I recommend this as a fine read. ...more
Sep 26, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I listened to the audiobook, and it had three different readers. No offense to the woman who read the female stories, but I loved listening to Bobby Cannavale read. The perfect voice for the character. When he was telling the story I felt like I was there!
Ann Sumner
Nov 24, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Loved this book! After weeks of reading Joyce Carol Oates and feeling edgy and oppressed, I thoroughly enjoyed this refreshing novel about familial love.

Easy to read, fascinating characters who open slowly to the reader, solid plot that is reasonable, this book has a lot to recommend it.
May 15, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Lots of words, not much action
May 06, 2020 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Too depressing to read... quit half way through it.
Sep 20, 2020 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Disappointed! More on Bookwinked at: ...more
Katherine Kelly
Started slowly but once the story changed perspectives, it got really interesting. I like the way it offered multiple perspectives on the same story throughout the lifetime of this family. It begins narrated by a little boy annoyed by his cousins coming to live with him, and I was really annoyed with him the whole time for how whiny he was (despite how I could relate) and I almost abandoned the book until the narrator changed to his mother and then his aunt and then his cousin - all sections I t ...more
Nov 30, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Ursula Hegi has a gift for telling tragedy, and family stories, and this book excels in both those categories. That it is about being Italian American is simply an added bonus, from my point of view, although I acknowledge that this characteristic is, to a degree, important to the story. The story this reminds me of is, surprisingly, We Need to Talk About Kevin - not because the stories are similar, though they have similarities, but because of the total intimacy present in each narrative, discl ...more
Bobbi Heck
Seven-year-old Anthony Amedeo's comfortable life with his caterer father, Victor, and his mother, Leonora, is disrupted when his ne'er-do-well Uncle Malcolm goes "elsewhere" (a family euphemism for prison) and his Aunt Floria moves into the Amedeo apartment with her eight-year-old twin daughters. They arrive just before Christmas 1953, and soon afterwards, one of the twins plunges to her death from an open window. The tragedy will define the lives of everyone in the two families and change them ...more
Garlan ✌
May 31, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: everyone
This was a another great story from Hegi about a family living in the Bronx in the 1950's. Told from several points of view over a span of 40+ years, we're introduced to Anthony, Floria, Leonora and Belinda, as they tell their story about family and what binds us to one another, all the while dealing with tragedy, loss, guilt and forgiveness. Hegi gives each character depth and peronality, but especially Floria and Leonora. I would have given the book 5 stars, but for one section that I didn't c ...more
Dec 10, 2009 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I'm not sure whether I liked it or not so I'm giving it a solid 3*. The story is told from the viewpoint of 4 different people throughout the span of the book.
It's wonderfully written and the descriptions of emotions and events are outstanding. Hegi really has a way of bringing pictures to your mind.
However, there's so much pain and sorrow that 2 of the viewpoints were really, really hard to read. With the wonderful wording, the pain really came through.
Also, there were times where Hegi dwelt
Nov 19, 2014 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Interesting glimpse into the life of a young boy and his family living in The Bronx in the 1950's. The vast differences between growing up in NY compared to growing up in the south, the Deep South, actually just boiled down to location, temperature, and culture. But, in the end the truth is that we all grow up with hopes and dreams that are interrupted by the reality and sometimes tragedy of life. The test begins when we step into or are pushed into adulthood. I gave it only two stars because I ...more
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Ursula Hegi is the author of Sacred Time, Hotel of the Saints, The Vision of Emma Blau, Tearing the Silence, Salt Dancers, Stones from the River, Floating in My Mother's Palm, Unearned Pleasures and Other Stories, Intrusions, and Trudi & Pia. She is the recipient of more than thirty grants and awards.

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