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All This Talk of Love

3.75  ·  Rating details ·  743 ratings  ·  140 reviews
It’s been fifty years since Antonio Grasso married Maddalena and brought her to America. That was the last time she would ever see her parents, her sisters and brothers—everything she knew and loved in the village of Santa Cecilia, Italy. She locked those memories away, as if Santa Cecilia stopped existing the very day she left. Now, with children and grandchildren of her ...more
Paperback, 352 pages
Published February 5th 2013 by Algonquin Books
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Average rating 3.75  · 
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Feb 17, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Full disclosure: I'm a friend of Christopher's, though despite our once attending a second-tier university we both have fabulous careers now; mine consists of critiquing literature professionally, so if I didn't like my friend's book, I wouldn't include it on my Goodreads list.

I loved A Kiss from Maddalena and liked The Saint of Lost Things, but All This Talk of Love is even better. It was a tough assignment, talking of love without getting sentimental, but this book manages to pull it off, show
Mar 07, 2013 rated it liked it
For me, this book was a bit of a "sleeper" in that I got involved and interested far into the book. It's sweet. It tells the story of Italian immigrants. To me, it's also a drama of a family, immigrant or not. The mother of the clan married a man she didn't love/lust. She followed him to America. He was a good man, provided her with everything. He started a thriving restaurant with his brother. They had children, one dies. So they have another one. It's a story of a family, of sadness, of loss, ...more
Jul 25, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I am someone who sticks bits of paper in pages as I read so I can go back and reread passages, possibly to record words or ideas at the end. While reading “All This Talk of Love,” I could not stop to rip up my scraps of paper; that would have been too much of an interruption.

The opening pages, my introduction to the Grasso family, pulled me right into the mother and father’s corner, Maddalena and Antonio. A mother who speaks to her son in graduate school in Boston every night at 11:01 about thei
Jun 16, 2015 rated it really liked it
Maddalena years in Santa Cecila Italy is filled with hurt and painful memories.Leaving her hometown behind her after marrying was the best decision that she ever made. Antonio, her husband feels the same way, thinking that it was best that they leave the past behind them and restart their future. It has been over a decade since the last time they been home and they plan to keep it that way. Frankie a dear child of the couple, is an introverted shy man that prefers to books than to party with str ...more
Elizabeth  Higginbotham
Jul 18, 2017 rated it it was amazing
All this talk of Love by Christopher Castellani is perhaps the best in his series inspired by his family’s experiences. We are following generations of an Italian immigrant family that settled in Wilmington DE, built a business, the tensions and struggles of the children of these immigrants as they make their own ways and some insights into the next generation. The major characters, the father, mother, son and daughter are well developed, while we get strong hints of the other people in their li ...more
Apr 19, 2017 rated it liked it
3.5 Stars
Sep 05, 2012 rated it really liked it
Christopher Castellani's third novel is a beautifully evocative examination of a family greatly affected by a past tragedy and their ethnic culture. Antonio and Maddalena Grasso came to America from Santa Cecila, Italy fifty years ago. Together they had three children, but lost one tragically years ago. Now their remaining children and grandchildren have each formed a family construct based on their individual experiences, while Antonio and Maddalena each deal with their personal grief in solita ...more
May 30, 2013 rated it really liked it
This novel struck me in a way that I can’t quite explain. I really enjoyed it, nearly loved it – the only thing holding me back from loving it was that, at times, I felt it moved a bit slowly. But I liked the plot – members of the Grasso family each having at least one difficulty they need to come to terms with, both internally and externally – and I felt the characters were really well developed and consistent throughout the novel. Maybe the book struck me because I connected with each of the c ...more
Jun 04, 2013 rated it really liked it
While I was glad to get back to the Grasso family, this is a very sad book, and I felt a bit cheated having missed out on the past 40 or so years of their lives. So much has happened since The Saint of Lost Things -- life, death, people have grown up and changed. But Maddalena has never been able to quite heal the wounds that come from being taken from her beloved family and Italian village and there is never any certainty that she truly loves Antonio the way she once loved, in Italy. Antonio ta ...more
Karen Blinn
Feb 17, 2013 rated it liked it
Although this book has received glowing reviews in the critical review magazines read by librarians, I found it somewhat of a letdown. It chronicles the story of a married couple who came to the States from Italy and their first-generation American children. Antonio Grasso married Maddalena after he returned to Italy and viewed the available daughters from her family. She left the love of her life behind in Italy to move to America with him. She cut off all contact with her family back in Italy ...more
Jan 09, 2013 rated it really liked it
I received a copy of this book through the LibraryThing Early Reviewers Program.

I really enjoyed this book. Be advised though, this is the third book in a trilogy by this author. I wish I had known that going in. However, the story is strong enough to stand on its own.

That being said, this was a very well-written, sweeping story of an elderly Italian immigrant couple and their two adult children.

There are many heartbreaks revealed along the way. The story bounces between the parents, Maddalena a
Debbie Maskus
Jan 20, 2013 rated it liked it
This is an interesting book that delves into the psyche of a few of the main characters. I especially like the musings of Antonio Grasso and his feeling for his wife of 50 years. His constant acts of love for her, when all she thinks about is an old love from Italy, are amazing. Antonio fell in love with Maddalena the first time he saw her, and that love never falters. I did not like the younger son, Frankie. He is a weak and dependent individual. The only daughter, Prima, must face her own demo ...more
Julie Whelan
Jun 05, 2013 rated it liked it
Castellani has a wonderfully warm and sensitive way of characterizing older people. This quality really made this book shine for me. I will always remember the older couple, Antonio and Magdellena, and their final trip to their hometown in Italy. I wished this part of the story happened earlier in the book and lasted longer. At times the beginning of the book was a bit choppy and hard to follow.The younger characters, Frankie a graduate student; Birch, his sex crazed, uncaring and unethical advi ...more
Oct 10, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: february, fiction
My favorite book in the Grasso family trilogy. This book was haunting and melancholy and funny and true. This book follows Maddalena in the last days of her life. We meet her three children and learn about them as well. Antonio becomes even more complex and fascinating as a character. There are a lot of secrets in this family, and regarding a few of them, the reader is the only person privy to every part of the story.

A wonderful wrap-up to Castellani's series. He's a talented writer and it feel
Feb 02, 2013 rated it really liked it
I really wanted to love this book, but at times I got tired of the endless family dynamics and the binds of love they talked of.
I liked the daughter until "the big event" but after that not much was heard from her.
The book is well written and moves well until the last go around and gets a bit bogged down.
Jun 26, 2013 rated it it was amazing
One of my favorite kinds of book to read is the family saga and Christopher Castellani has written such a masterpiece, it almost re-defines the genre. Particularly masterful was his treatment of one of his main character's slow slide into dementia, not an easy feat to pull of but which Chris does so skillfully. Highly recommended.
It is interesting to me that a gay male novelist chose to write a novel about identity, belonging, and community arguably without a gay male main character.

The characters are not drawn richly enough to consistently keep my attention.

The authors end note succinctly talks about his personal experience on a family trip to Rome. The story might make a memoir stronger than this fiction.
Jan 31, 2013 rated it it was ok
The reviews of this book made it seem more interesting than I found it, although I still finished it. It was not my favorite - too much like watching someone else's family life with no good conclusion - you just stopped watching. I wouldn't read it again.
Mar 16, 2013 rated it it was ok
Finished this book tonight. Perhaps I should have read the others first. I found the characters harsh and unlikeable. Depressing and sad, especially Prima and Frankie. I did like the love story of Maddalena and Antonio.
Apr 21, 2013 rated it really liked it
I could relate to this book in so many ways. Good read for 2nd generation Italian Americans who are really American Italians!
Jul 29, 2013 rated it liked it
Somewhat uneven and overwritten at times, so I really had to push myself to finish. Characters were likable... sense of place and emotion were well done. Liked it.
Adam Olenn
Aug 06, 2013 rated it it was amazing
A difficult book to read, what with tears in my eyes the whole time. Buy several and give them to your family.
Elayne Clift
Mar 23, 2014 rated it really liked it
Heartwarming tale of an Italian-American family, with all its foibles, frustrations, loyalties, love.
Aug 02, 2018 rated it really liked it
Right after my husband asked me how I liked this book and I’d told him it was good, I got to a part near the end where I began to cry for several pages; and I knew I would tell him later that I’d changed my mind, that it was great, and I’d felt embarrassed for not thinking so sooner.

I’ll tell him when he gets home - now that I’m finished - that I thought the characters had great development, much better than most books, but nothing remarkable. It wasn’t until chapter 11 - the part where my cryi
Debbie Shoulders
Jan 04, 2020 rated it really liked it
In some respects this was a difficult read. Its focus on authenticity forced one to think in realistic terms. Love is all that a family has in good and hard times. Despite some misgivings, Maddalena follows Antonio to a new life in the United States, leaving behind her family, friends, and the small mountain village of St. Cecilia. Fifty years later they have built a business, lost a child to suicide, and gained four grandsons. Prima, their oldest decides it is time to go back to their roots and ...more
Aug 09, 2017 rated it liked it
I enjoyed the book but found it somewhat sentimental and maudlin.
The codependent Italian family has been done to death- think The Godfather without the mafia.
There is an event that casts a pall on each member of the family in different ways but the genesis of that story line is left vaguely blank and unsatisfactorily explained.
I do think Mr. Castellani has a deft way with story of the ageing parents, that I found quite tender.
I enjoyed but did not love this book.
Jane Zwart
Feb 02, 2019 rated it liked it
My love for the member of the Italian family at the center of this book lagged behind the narrator's fondness for them, and the fault there may well be mine. I think I felt tepid toward the Grassos mostly because I found the large compromises they make, individually or by common consent, plausible but not especially consoling or heartrending. That said, some of the second-order compromises that Castellani credits to his characters have precisely the texture and heft of reality.
Aug 12, 2017 rated it liked it
I've read one of Christopher's works before and found it quite good so, I thought I'd give this one a try. I did like the premise of the book itself however, I felt as though the storyline of Maddalena and Frankie's relationship was a bit taboo of mother/son relationships, making it seem a bit too exaggerated. Also, I wasn't too keen on the character of Prima; I felt as though she never really had a storyline to begin with, and seemed to be lost throughout the main plot itself. I wished that mor ...more
May 03, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Satisfying ending to the Maddalena trilogy

This book pulls you in to the final chapter of Maddelena 's life. Another captivating, worthwhile read. Mr Castellani, the author, has created interesting, real characters and enthralling storylines across the life of his main character Maddelena. I recommend all 3 books highly.
The love in the story revolves around an immigrant family wanting to return to the Old Country to see relatives before the mother sinks into Alzheimer's to the point that the trip won't mean anything. Good family dynamics in the story but writing didn't impress me.
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Christopher Castellani is the son of Italian immigrants and a native of Wilmington, Delaware. He lives in Boston, where he is the artistic director of Grub Street, one of the country's leading independent creative writing centers. He is the author of three novels: All This Talk of Love (2013) -- a New York Times Editors' Choice -- A Kiss from Maddalena (2003)--winner of the Massachusetts Book Awar ...more

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