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In a Glass House [Paperback]

Nino Ricci
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
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Product Description

From Publishers Weekly

This sequel to the well-received The Book of Saints again follows the Innocente family, here having left Italy to settle in a Canadian farming community called Mersea on the shores of Lake Erie. Unlike the previous novel, however, this one has only mixed success. The tale is nicely wrought and lovingly written, but it suffers from a thin plot and a morass of self-analysis from its narrator, Vittorio. In 1961, when the novel opens, Vittorio is seven; he and his illegitimate half-sister, Rita, have joined Vittorio's moody father, a greenhouse keeper, who hates the infant Rita because she reminds him of his faithless wife. Vittorio hopes desperately to make a connection with his father, who only withdraws further, living at such a remove from his surroundings that he rarely speaks even to his children. Vittorio's attempts to connect elsewhere, either in Mersea's Italian community or in the surrounding Canadian culture, meet with rejection or misunderstanding. Yet he slowly navigates through the elements of his life, gaining perspective, finding a girlfriend, attending college and traveling to Africa. Rita finally escapes from the family with an awful ruse, better left unrevealed. In places, Ricci tells his tale beautifully, but he seems to have fallen under the spell of his own prose, which, like the protagonist, turns in upon itself a little too deeply.
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Library Journal

In this sequel to The Book of the Saints (LJ 5/1/91), young Vittorio Innocente leaves Italy and his dead mother to join his estranged father in Canada. But the shame of his mother's adulterous affair and subsequent death in childbirth poisons life with his embittered father. Emotions explode when his Aunt Theresa arrives with his baby half-sister, Rita, but then like the vegetables they labor to grow under acres of glass in a hostile climate, the Innocentes struggle to fashion a family from the wreckage of dashed hopes. Caught between his father's dark fury and his aloof half-sister, Vittorio struggles to escape the hothouse environment of an immigrant community isolated by custom and language. Ricci adroitly portrays the developing awareness of a child growing into adulthood whose emotional scars barely heal before they are ripped open by fresh revelations. Through Vittorio's brooding sensitivity, Ricci explores what binds these volatile characters into a family as well as what ultimately drives them apart. Recommended for all collections.?Paul E. Hutchison, Bellefonte, Pa.
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Booklist

In this sequel to The Book of Saints (1991), Ricci continues the story of young Vittorio Innocente, who has arrived in Canada from Italy to live with his half-sister and father, Mario. Vittorio's life in the New World consists mostly of caring for this half-sister Mario has rejected, she not being his own. The years pass, and Vittorio suffers an isolated and indifferent existence, eventually leaving for college and ironically directing a study of his own emotionally mysterious Italian community. After accepting a teaching position in Nigeria, he begins an uncomfortable but touching correspondence with his father and his half-sister, both of whom expose themselves in unfamiliar ways. On news of his father's suicide, Vittorio returns to Canada and memories of his painful, wasted youth. The novel ends with Vittorio's final leavetaking. Ricci's writing is strong, gaining power and emotion as Vittorio reflects on his childhood; its poignancy is nowhere more beautiful then when Vittorio studies the letters from home for their hidden meanings. "Somehow I'd missed the simplest things, the simplest possibilities, that we might have shared our lives, been human, that it would have cost us so little to be simply ourselves." A meaningful work from a talented young writer. Kathy Broderick --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Review

“The exactitude and delicacy with which the smallest details, the finest nuances, are rendered, demonstrates Ricci’s mastery as a colourist of the human heart.…A dizzying display of virtuosity.…”
Quill & Quire (starred review)

“A haunting, lyrical, intelligent coming-of-age novel…the acuity of its observations, the eloquence of its prose and the hard-earned wisdom of its final pages make it a genuine achievement.”
New York Times

“Ricci’s great gift is to capture, sometimes in exquisite prose, the texture of people and place.…”
Maclean’s

“Brilliant.…There is little doubt that Nino Ricci is one of Canada’s best novelists to appear in a long time.”
The Spectator (U.K.)

From the Back Cover

“The exactitude and delicacy with which the smallest details, the finest nuances, are rendered, demonstrates Ricci’s mastery as a colourist of the human heart.…A dizzying display of virtuosity.…”
Quill & Quire (starred review)

“A haunting, lyrical, intelligent coming-of-age novel…the acuity of its observations, the eloquence of its prose and the hard-earned wisdom of its final pages make it a genuine achievement.”
New York Times

“Ricci’s great gift is to capture, sometimes in exquisite prose, the texture of people and place.…”
Maclean’s

“Brilliant.…There is little doubt that Nino Ricci is one of Canada’s best novelists to appear in a long time.”
The Spectator (U.K.)

About the Author

Nino Ricci was born in Leamington, Ontario, in 1959. His first novel, Lives of the Saints (1990), won the Governor General’s Award for Fiction, the SmithBooks/Books in Canada First Novel Award, and the F.G. Bressani Prize. The novel was also a long-time national bestseller, and was followed by the highly acclaimed In a Glass House (1993) and Where She Has Gone (1997), which was shortlisted for the prestigious Giller Prize. His most recent novel is Testament (2002). Ricci holds a B.A. from York University and an M.A. from Concordia University. He is a past president of PEN Canada.

Nino Ricci lives in Toronto.
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