Short Stories in Italian Anthology
An exciting collection of contemporary short fiction featuring the work of eight North American writers of Italian descent has been published in Italy by Manni Editori. The anthology, Uè paisà: Racconti dall’identità italoamericana, is one of the first Italian collections to feature contemporary Italian American writers in translation. The book was edited and translated by Carla Francellini, Professor of Comparative Literature and Literary Translation at the University of Siena. Francellini has also edited Women in Translation/Donne in traduzione, published in Italy by Artemide Edizioni.
In addition to work by Tony Ardizzone, Uè paisà features writing by Adria Bernardi, Mary Caponegro, Paola Corso, Fred Gardaphè, Sandra Mortola Gilbert, Maria Maziotti Gillan, and Lisa Ruffolo.
Francellini selected three of Ardizzone's short stories for inclusion in the anthology: "The Eyes of Children," which appeared in his first collection, The Evening News; "The Man in the Movie," which was published in Taking It Home: Stories from the Neighborhood; and an uncollected story, "What I Learned from the Good Sisters of Christian Charity During My Nine Years of Roman Catholic Grammar School in Chicago."
Work in Progress
My latest book, By the Fountain of the Four Rivers, is an episodic novel set in Rome. The book begins on 26 December 2004, the morning of the devastating South-Asian tsunami that took the lives of over three hundred thousand people, and ends in April 2005, shortly after the death of Pope John Paul II.
The novel's chapters cycle around these events and are filtered by the perspectives of several characters including a Boston stocks analyst and his pregnant wife; a young Montessori teacher from Vancouver, British Columbia; a Chicago-born hostess who takes leave from her job in Tokyo's Ginza district; a native Roman who works as a centurion outside the Colosseum; a pet-store owner from San Francisco; a divorced New York City academic; and a former Christian Brother. The novel also features several recurring figures, including a Roman performance artist attempting to reenact the life of Caravaggio, a young woman from Ferentino who plays the organetto at the foot of the Piazza Navona's Fountain of Four Rivers, an unscrupulous but highly knowlegeable German tour guide, and a former nun (kitchen sister) who left her cloistered convent in Croatia for a life of social service.
By the Fountain of the Four Rivers is also about the city of Rome itself, as each of its sections reflects, and draws it central narrative from, the religious art and history of one or more of Rome's churches and basilicas. Here I think of Richard Hugo's masterwork, The Triggering Town: Lectures and Essays on Poetry and Writing, and his concept of a triggering subject. I'm also patterning the book after Krzystof Kieslowski's work, adapting aspects of his masterwork The Decalogue, which was an interconnected series of ten short films triggered by the Ten Commandments, as well as his Three Colors trilogy and his fascinating masterpiece The Double Life of Veronique.