Indie Next Pick for February 2014.
Editor's Choice, Chicago Tribune
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 hope.
In the seaside village of San Benedetto, a resort town on the Italian Riviera, twenty-two year old Etto finds himself adrift. Within the past year, Etto has not only lost both his twin brother and his mother, but in his grief has become estranged from his father, the local butcher. While his father passes the time with the men of the town in the fine tradition of Italian men everywhere—a reverential obsession with soccer—Etto retreats ever further from his day-to-day life, seeking out solace in the hills above the town.
But when Yuri Fil, a scandalized Ukrainian soccer star, takes refuge in the town along with his captivating younger sister, Zhuki, they sweep Etto into their universe of faith, hope, love and humor. Accompanied on his journey by the modern incarnations from Dante's Divine Comedy who populate his town, Etto starts to reconstruct his relationship with his father, learns to stop playing defense, and once again opens himself up to the world.
"How can a story about unbearable grief be so funny, so bawdy, so vibrant with the earthy joys of ordinary life? When it is told by someone with the uncommon wit of the fearless, tender, wise Brigid Pasulka. The Sun and Other Stars is, as its title promises, a wondrous and radiant novel."--Julia Glass, National Book Award winner and author of THE WIDOWER'S TALE
"The Sun and Other Stars is storytelling at its best, and Pasulka has made magic with this wise, poignant tale of love, community, and the sport that brings them all together!"--Gail Tsukiyama, New York Times bestselling author of THE SAMURAI'S GARDEN
"What a smashing novel. Even more intricately braided and moving than her excellent first one. Fans of both Dante and the Azzurri will find plenty to relish and celebrate."--James McManus, New York Times bestselling author of POSITIVELY FIFTH STREET and GOING TO THE SUN
"[T]he sincerity of this tale of psychological recovery gratifies. As it hums to its conclusion, the reader is pleased by the realization that San Benedetto’s most aggrieved native is, at last, learning how to, “you know, live.”--Mike Peed, New York Times SEE FULL REVIEW
The author beautifully evokes life in an Italian tourist town...Etto's likable, slightly sheepish persona gives the narrative charm and the occasional flight of poetry...What results is a celebration of young love, sunshine and la dolce vita...--Susan Welsh, Oprah.com SEE FULL REVIEW
"How can it be that a novel that seems so dark...is so full of life?... Brigid Pasulka's sophomore novel, "The Sun and Other Stars," [which] sweeps readers into a seaside village on the Italian Riviera...explodes with joy and narrative charm."--Editor's Choice, Elizabeth Taylor, Chicago Tribune SEE FULL REVIEW
“Heartwarming…. Pasulka scores a refreshing success with her affectionate portrait of a small-town community and her fresh angle on an aching heart.”--Kirkus Reviews SEE FULL REVIEW
“...Pasulka avoids cliché with some lovely writing, well-placed low humor, and specificity of place. Readers will be crossing their fingers for Etto to find some well-deserved happiness.”--Publisher's Weekly SEE FULL REVIEW
Pasulka...seeds “The Sun and Other Stars” with stunning, elegantly rendered moments of insight...Full of light and surprising grace, it is both a poetic coming-of-age story and a poignant examination of the nature of family and belonging.--Karen Campbell, Boston Globe SEE FULL REVIEW
“What The Art of Fielding did for college baseball, The Sun and Other Stars succeeds in doing for pickup soccer.”--Tyghe Trimble, Men’s Journal
“Pasulka’s poetic language captures the wild fanaticism of European soccer fans, the slow pace and intimacy of small-town life in Italy, and the heartbreak of losing loved ones while struggling to maintain relationships that are seemingly beyond repair. Even if you aren’t a fan of the game, this is so much more than a soccer novel; it is a beautiful story rich in detail and authenticity.”--Booklist
"Ms. Pasulka's prose has a playful, auditory quality; it captures the rhythms of spoken Italian, the rush of soccer goals scored, and the charm of a community where elderly men gather nightly to watch calcio, drink and gossip...
"The Sun and Other Stars" is a thoughtful novel that is so original in its execution and use of language that it easily warrants a second read."--Julie Hakim Azzam Pittsburgh Post-Gazette SEE FULL REVIEW
The Sun and Other Stars bursts with a Mediterranean ease and exuberance...the prose is energetic and carefree, reminiscent perhaps of Dave Eggers or Salman Rushdie. This lighthearted and affectionate novel could help transform soccer into more than just an adjective that precedes “mom.”--Kenneth Champeon, BookPage SEE FULL REVIEW
"The profundity of grief, the alternate angst and joy of young love and the struggle for understanding across generational divides form the bricks of the story; soccer is simply the mortar joining the themes... Pasulka creates a charming world with enough depth to allow us to have the experience vicariouslySEE FULL REVIEWJaclyn Fulwood, Shelf Awareness
"This was a beautifully written tale of families and community and turns into a coming-of-age story as Etto finds his way beyond grief and resentment to a place where loss can turn into hope...This is the author's second book and is definitely someone to watch in the future.."--Kelly Strom, The News-Gazette SEE FULL REVIEW
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