Seven or Eight Deaths of Stella Fortuna by Juliet Grames

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Stella had been disturbed by her mother’s behaviour, had thought that manifestation of grief barbaric -inhuman. Now she understood. She wished she could shit out her own grief, pull it out by its roots. But she couldn’t – she wasn’t Assunta.

God, what a crazy book full of emotions this was. I love a book when I know I wouldn’t forget the character’s names, and this is one of those books you see…

 sdadsadasd.JPGStella Fortuna’s story  was a FANTASTIC read- from start to finish. I mean, the book cover is screaming EPIC and it’s lived up to that feeling, thank God!

It reminded me a lot of Marquez’s A Hundred Years of Solitude from time to time although the magical realism in this one wasn’t as dominant.

This is the story of an Italian American immigrant family through the character Stella Fortuna and her encounters with danger nearly resulting with her death. Starts from a small Italian village in mountains, where Fortunas struggle to make ends, a poor life in village. Then fate takes them to America in it’s complicated ways, I really loved this part where decades of the Italian immigrants lives were explored, how much they worked to make America ‘great’ and what it took to be a citizen. Comparisons between the refugee crises and the people fleeing ww2 from Europe to America were spot on…

Some Trigger warnings: The book touches dark and disturbing subjects (rape, incest) from time to time but it doesn’t go cringey/graphic and more importantly doesn’t victimise the female characters so I did the feel disgusted like I felt in some other books. (You know I am really sensitive and I guarantee it’s nothing awful) The style of writing is poetic and names are such an important part of this book- which made me think of A Hundred years of Solitude a lot!

I can go on forever but this is an epic book, could be defined as a lot of things; a family saga, a slice of history, a look at women’s struggles in Italian traditions, I have read this over a weekend and literally was lost in the pages. Really enjoyed it, a five star read.

One final note: I was really disheartened by the books name as there seems to be a trend with ‘7 somethings…’ but this is definitely worth checking out. Could have had a more original name for this fantastic story!

4.5 stars!

Thanks to Hodder Books for a copy of the book.

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