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The Sun and Other Stars

3.94  ·  Rating details ·  629 ratings  ·  146 reviews
Set in a seaside village on the Italian Riviera, this irresistible new novel by PEN/Hemingway Award-winner Brigid Pasulka tells the story of a widowed butcher and his son whose losses are transformed into love.

After losing his brother and mother within a year, twenty-two-year-old Etto finds himself adrift in his hometown, where every man’s life revolves around soccer, exce
Hardcover, 336 pages
Published February 4th 2014 by Simon Schuster (first published August 13th 2013)
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Average rating 3.94  · 
Rating details
 ·  629 ratings  ·  146 reviews

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Nov 14, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: first-reads, 4-stars
3.5 stars

I won this ARC as part of a Goodreads giveaway in exchange for an honest review.

If I were to have rated this based on the first half of the story it would have had a three star rating and if I were to have rated it based only on the last half it would have received a four star rating. I compromised and gave it a 3.5.

If you are not a fan of soccer or calcio as described in this book then this may not be the read for you. This storyline is heavy on soccer and soccer references. I in fact
Cam Mannino
Apr 18, 2014 rated it it was amazing
I couldn't resist this book - but then, I didn't try very hard. I once got to spend time in a small Italian town like the fictitous San Benedetto of this book and I still walk around that little walled city in my imagination to calm myself on sleepless nights. No doubt I romanticize life there; the sun, the sense of community, the rambling streets and collection of tiny shops run by local eccentrics all make that inevitable. I'm aware that I'm romanticizing, but for once I just don’t fight it. O ...more
Mar 09, 2015 rated it really liked it
There was something about this book that made me want to drop everything and read it. The writing is good - a beautiful, honest voice and intriguing characters. I giggled aloud more than once while reading, yet also shed a few quiet tears. The pacing is smart and the plot has depth that isn't apparent from the beginning. It seduced me away from a cold snowy weekend and fully into summer on the Italian Riviera, and I didn't want to leave. It's a perfect vacation/beach read, if your idea of vacati ...more
Lolly K Dandeneau
Sep 17, 2013 rated it really liked it
You don't have to be a Calcio (football for Europeans, soccer for Americans) fan to fall for this novel. Twenty-two year old Etto, of the town of San Benedetto, has just lost his twin brother Luca (a star player of soccer) in a motorcycle accident and then his mother drowns herself in grief, committing suicide during a swim. Luca was his father's favorite son, sharing a bond over Calcio, while Etto shared a special bond with their mother. Etto, feeling abandoned by his mother's desperate act, sp ...more
Jul 24, 2014 rated it it was amazing
I can't recall a recent read that I loved more than this one. Captured me from the very first page, and kept me enthralled throughout. Please do yourself a favor and read this immediately. You will laugh, you will cry, you will cheer, you will be reminded of the very best parts of our humanity. Brigid, if you see this, my only fear is catching up on your other work. I don't see how I can love another novel quite as much as this one. Bravo! ...more
I really loved the author's first book (A Long Long Time Ago and Essentially True), but this second book just didn't do it for me.

I don't tend to be drawn to modern stories, especially with sports as a theme, but I figured I'd just give this one a try. The book started off well enough, and the writing style felt familiar and was pleasant at first. It sort of lost that feel though, and with it went my interest. I never really became that attached to any of the characters, especially the main cha
Nancy Croth
Mar 26, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: adult-fiction
I give this book four stars, not because of the literary quality of it but because the character development was superb. Told in the voice of the 'star' of the story, the reader becomes enmeshed in his life but also the life of the village of San Benedetto. An easy read and one to reinforce the notion of the healing power of love both from an individual and communal perspective. ...more
Jun 26, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: adult-fiction
Absolutely BRILLIANT. This is hands-down one of the best books I have read in quite a while. You don't have to be a soccer fan to appreciate the beautiful writing, clever humor, and relatable personal journey at the heart of this story. I cannot recommend this book highly enough. ...more
Michele Bové
Nov 07, 2013 rated it it was amazing
The author crafts memorable characters that stick with you long after you've finished the book. ...more
Feb 08, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I got this book at a small Italian bookstore in Boston. It was wrapped in brown paper as a part of the store's "don't judge a book by it's cover" campaign. It was labeled "Italian riviera, love and loss, contemporary" with a big hand drawn sun. It's definitely not something I would have picked for myself- but OH MY GOD. This book is fucking BEAUTIFUL. How the author uses so few words to paint a picture so vivid and lively and create characters so wholesome and loving is beyond me. It ripped my h ...more
Penny McGill
As soon as I finished this book I knew that I'd come back to this book again and again and this feeling has totally surprised me. It's a story about a young man, living in a small town in Italy, working in his father's butcher shop. None of those things should appeal to me - there is very romance here, there are no period dresses, no great sweeping dialogue with the possibility for more dialogue, all the things I love - but I was torn up by Etto and his life from the moment I met him. Then (I fo ...more
Paul Pessolano
Jan 27, 2014 rated it it was ok
“The Sun and Other Stars” by Brigid Pasulka, published by Simon and Schuster.

Category – Fiction/Literature Publication Date – February 04, 2014

Things are about to change in the Italian Riviera town of San Benedetto and the change could well be due to the sport of soccer.

Etto, at twenty-two years old, is dealing with the death of his twin brother and his mother. He is also in a negative relationship with his father, the town butcher. His life seems to be going no where. He works in his father’s
Pamela Hubbard
Etto is a young man living in a small village on the Italian Riviera. He is mourning the fact that both his mother and his brother died in the previous two years. He goes on with his life, detached, cynical and hurting. He doesn't fit in in his town, a place obsessed with soccer. As he crosses paths with Ukrainian soccer star, Yuri Fil and his family, Etto starts to heal and realize that soccer is not just a game, but a vehicle to bring people together and change lives.
I had a really hard time g
Oct 06, 2014 rated it it was amazing
I never understood obsession with soccer ... with Italy ... with love and grief ... until now. I wish I had been to the Italian Riviera, had Calcio in my blood or could understand a word of Italian before I read this beautiful book. So many well-written lines that flowed out and made me laugh or cry. Some of the best character development I've ever read. The author runs a writing center at a public high school. What fortunate students she must have. ...more
Carol Tracy
Feb 19, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Intelligent fiction with heart. I thoroughly enjoyed reading it, taking my time, getting to know the characters. (I even picked up some Italian slang words.) It's a great view of life in an Italian seaside village. ...more
Jessica Jeffers
Aug 20, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: netgalley, fiction
I liked this, but I didn't love it. ...more
Oct 03, 2017 rated it liked it

Logan Smith
May 17, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I won this book as part of an ARC Goodreads giveaway.

What do I have in common with a butcher’s son in a small coastal town in Italy? More than I thought. This was one of those books that I raced home at the end of the day to read, simply because I connected so much with the main character. Even though I’m not Italian, not into soccer, not a butcher, and don’t have a shred of artistic ability, Etto is so believable as a character that I almost instantly saw myself in him.

Pasulka masterfully creat
Jun 13, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I! Loved! This! Book!

I got this book signed back in 2014 at the library where my friend Jez works. I'd met Brigid Pasulka once before and gotten her other book signed, so it was neat to have this one signed as well. As with her previous novel, I let this one languish on my shelf for waaaay too long before reading it.

Coming off a slight reading slump, I needed something with good characters that would really pull me in. This definitely fit the bill. The novel takes place in Italy, and Pasulka pep
mmk4 Koenen
May 27, 2020 rated it liked it
The setting for this book is San Benedetto, Italy. The main theme is the life value of the game of soccer. There are interesting characters and subplots. The author must be bilingual/trilingual because there are many times the individuals in the book speak either Italian/Eng/Ukrainian.
This story gives great insight to the mores and cultural traditions of native Italians (emphasis is on the older generation.) The imagery the author describes really gives you the feeling of what the village of SB
Asdzáá g
Dec 31, 2017 rated it it was ok
started slow, got into the 2nd third and actually started enjoying the read. the last chapter didn't sit well with me, so that ruined the book for me. so many people loved it, maybe because I don't understand the game of futbol/calcio. and really don't have any interest in it, either. in addition, I don't understand Italian or their local all in wasn't one of the better books I read this year - sad to say. : ( ...more
Becca Dellinger
May 13, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This book was incredible, gripping, emotional - it went so much deeper than I thought it would. I was glad to see a male character experiencing and sorting through his emotions and problems. I don't read many books from a male perspective, especially with so much feeling. Eto struggled with a lot of things that don't make it into the average story. The story was well written and perfectly designed. One of my favorites this year. ...more
Feb 15, 2020 rated it liked it
2.5 stars. I love the small town Italian setting and the strong personalities of the various village characters. The soccer details and fever were great. I realized about halfway through that those charming Italian phrases that kept being repeated were actually Italian curse words. 😳😂 But the story was longer than it needed to be a lagged in some places. Not bad, but not a book I would recommend.
Apr 26, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: italy
This is the first book in a while to keep me up at night reading. I was surprise by all of the (what I assume was) Italian cussing, but I thought it was a legitimate look at a hurt young man. He actually acted like a sulky teen! But also somehow was so sweet.

Recommended if you want to read about Italy!
Jan 31, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This book was so fun to listen to. The guy who reads this does an amazing job with the voices. Great story that had me transported to the little seaside village of San Benedetto every time I listened.
Jun 09, 2017 rated it really liked it
This book was a nice surprise. It's been on my list for a couple of years, and at first I found it a little hard to get into. But by about 50 pages in, I was fully immersed and fairly delighted by the story of Etto and all the wonderfully drawn characters in the novel's fictional, Cinque Terre-esque town on the Italian coast. Etto's twin brother and mother have both died, and tensions are high between him and his father both at home (they share the family apartment) and at work (Etto works in hi ...more
Aug 16, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I loved this book and sad it’s over. I especially appreciate the Italian words integrated into the narrative and dialogue, and the vivid characters that make up the town. It’s rare that a book is so full of humor as well as pathos.
Feb 03, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This one was a happy accident-I meant to pick up the Sun is Also a Star and ended up with this lovely book. The only element I didn't care for was all the discussion of meat/the butcher shop. And perhaps the joy at Italy winning the World Cup as I was cheering for France ;) ...more
Maria Ibarra
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Ronald Dylan
May 21, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This had a slow start. It redeemed itself halfway through. Patience is its own reward.
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Brigid Pasulka is the author of A LONG, LONG TIME AGO AND ESSENTIALLY TRUE, which won the 2010 Hemingway Foundation/PEN Award and was a Barnes & Noble Discover selection. Her second novel, THE SUN AND OTHER STARS, was a Chicago Tribune Editor's Choice and an Indie Next pick. Visit her website at ...more

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  Kerine Wint is a software engineering graduate with more love for books than for computers. As an avid reader, writer, and fan of all things...
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