When young Vittorio Innocente's mother, Cristina, is bitten by a snake in the family stable, no one sees the blue-eyed stranger leaving except for Vittorio. He struggles to keep his mother's secret - but secrets in a small village are hard to keep, and while Cristina's belly gradually grows under her loose dresses, they find themselves shunned by their superstitious neighbours. A classic of Canadian literature, Lives of the Saints has earned many distinctions since it was originally published in 1990. It was a national bestseller for seventy-five weeks, received the Governor General's Literary Award for Fiction, the W.H. Smith / Books in Canada First Novel Award, and the F.G. Bressani Prize. In England it won the Betty Trask Award and Winifred Holtby Memorial Prize, in the U.S. was shortlisted for the Los Angeles Times Art Seidenbaum Award for First Fiction, and in France was an Oeil de la lettre Selection of the National Libraries Association. It was also adapted into a miniseries starring Sophia Loren. This hardcover edition commemorates the twentieth anniversary of the book's publication, and features new materials, including chapters previously excised, an essay by Nino Ricci, illustrations by Tony Urquhart, and an introduction by Steven Hayward.