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Sometimes I Dream in Italian

Best Seller
Sometimes I Dream in Italian by Rita Ciresi
Paperback $12.95
Nov 06, 2001 | ISBN 9780385334945

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  • Nov 06, 2001 | ISBN 9780385334945

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  • Dec 10, 2008 | ISBN 9780307491138

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Product Details


“Poignant … an old-fashioned tale about girls with old-fashioned dreams … Angel and Lina will charm the reader.”
USA Today

“Simultaneously blunt and artful … Ciresi has a lovely ear for dialogue and the ability to nail the details in descriptions that are both funny and painfully accurate.”
The New York Times Book Review

“Rita Ciresi has done it again. She’s written a book of fiction that wraps hopes and fears and lonesomeness and togetherness and gladness into one funny story after another.”
Tampa Tribune-Times

“Precisely crafted and compelling … honest and witty.”
St. Petersburg Times

Also By Rita Ciresi:

Pink Slip
“This is Jane Austen in New York at the end of the 20th century…. Ciresi mixes the tragic and the comic aspects of love in hilarious fashion.”
— Tampa Tribune-Times

Blue Italian
“Biting humor … tactile prose … a vibrant tableau of marriage’s imperfections and redemptions.”
— Entertainment Weekly

Available from Dell

And look for

Mother Rocket

Coming in summer 2002

Author Q&A

Q: What inspired you to write Sometimes I Dream in Italian?

A: About ten years ago I wrote a short story about two sisters whose lives were changed by the death of their grandmother (which appears as the chapter called "La Stella d’Oro" in Sometimes I Dream in Italian). The dynamic between the two sisters, Pasqualina and Angelina, continued to intrigue me. I decided I wanted to write a series of scenes from their lives.

On a more abstract level, this book grew out of my long-standing interest in American immigrant literature. I like the way that novels and memoirs such as Pietro di Donato’s Christ in Concrete, Amy Tan’s The Joy Luck Club, and Judith Ortiz Cofer’s Silent Dancing explore families who long to assimilate to the New World but still feel hopelessly attached to the Old.

Q: How does your book explore, in particular, the Italian-American experience?

A: Sometimes I Dream in Italian is a coming-of-age tale that traces the childhood and early adulthood of two sisters who dream of being anything other than who they are–which, in this case, happens to be Italian-American. Angel and Lina Lupo long to shed their parents’ immigrant ways, but as they mature, they realize they long for their childhood and for a piece of the old country which even their own parents wanted to leave behind. Their attempts to "Americanize" themselves through their relationships with men fail precisely because they are so bound to their past.

Q: What is the significance of the title?

A: About three-quarters of the way through the book, Lina Lupo asks her younger sister Angel if she ever has weird dreams. When Angel replies, "Sometimes I dream in Italian–I’m talking but I don’t have the least idea what I mean to say," she is trying to put into words the sheer "inarticulate-ness" of her own ethnic identity. She knows there’s another language that she was meant to speak, but she isn’t fluent in it. Angel feels Italian to the core, but when she visits Italy, she can hardly put two sentences together; her German-American boyfriend (a student of languages) gets taken for the true Italian.

Q: Describe the relationship between the two sisters in Sometimes I Dream in Italian.

A: Well, what can I say? Like all sisters, they love each other; they hate each other–sometimes both in the same moment. I hope that readers, no matter what their ethnic background, will be amused and saddened to see how sibling relationships bring us joy and grief.

Q: What are you currently working on?

A: I’m writing a novel that checks back in with some of the characters I introduced in my previous novel Pink Slip. Remind Me Again Why I Married You is set in 1992 and takes a humorous look at why a warring husband and wife might choose to stay together in the age of divorce.

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