Nothing can be hidden in a small village, and little is forgiven. In Nino Ricci's Lives of the Saints
, the constricted mores of the villagers of Valle del Sole in the Italian Apennines come into severe conflict with Cristina, a local woman whose husband left for the United States years before and who has been impregnated by a secret lover. Ricci's engaging novel explores, through the eyes of Christina's seven-year-old son Vittorio, the superstition and narrow-mindedness of rural Italy, in a visually rich style that brings to mind the view of Italian life offered in such films as Fellini's Amarcord
or the Taviani brothers' Padre Padrone
Cristina, an independent spirit, sees her life turned into hell by her relatives and neighbours. Vittorio suffers too, although he is befriended by a compassionate teacher and the local goatherd. A grand and brooding pathos emanates from Cristina's difficult relationships with her relatives, but the novel carries a depth of humour as well. When Christina is bitten by a snake and taken to the hospital, the long trip down the mountains in the village's only car and the scene at the crowded hospital are both hysterically funny. Ricci's finely wrought novel spent months on the Canadian bestseller lists when it first appeared in 1990, beginning a trilogy that also includes In a Glass House and Where She Has Gone. --Mark Frutkin
--This text refers to an alternate
About the Author
NINO RICCI was born in Leamington, Ontario. His other novels in the Vittorio Innocente Triology, which has been made into a television miniseries starring Sophia Loren, are In a Glass House and the Giller Prize-nominated Where She Has Gone. He is also the author of the novels Testament and The Origin of Species. He holds a BA from York University and an MA from Concordia University, and he is a past president of PEN Canada. He is the winner of the inaugural Alistair MacLeod Award for Literary Achievement. Nino lives in Toronto with his wife and children.