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Like Family by Paolo Giordano
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Like Family

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Like Family by Paolo Giordano
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Dec 06, 2016 | ISBN 9780143108610

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  • Dec 06, 2016 | ISBN 9780143108610

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  • Dec 01, 2015 | ISBN 9780698191365

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Product Details


Praise for LIKE FAMILY:

“A profound tale of family, crisis and the passage of time, Giordano’s…novel is a cherished read.”Harper’s Bazaar

“A touching meditation on life, loss, and most of all, love.” —Us Weekly

“From aide to nanny and housekeeper . . . Paolo Giordano examines this unusual relationship in the context of one household of three. . . . Spare, elegant.” —The New York Times 

Like Family. . . demands to be savored. . . Giordano’s emphasis on how we choose to live and love offers subtle hope that our decisions actually matter.” —

“Mr. Giordano’s elegiac work, which benefits from a finely etched translation by Anne Milano Appel, is a tender and mournful homage to one who held a family together without ever quite belonging to it.”Wall Street Journal
“Giordano . . . writes in a style so cool and clean . . . [it] invokes the sacredness of family.” Boston Globe

“Giordano seamlessly travels through time in the narrative, painting an enthralling portrait of love, loss, and heartache.”—

“Intense and bittersweet.” Washington Review of Books

“This wonderfully poignant and heart-rending story looks at everyday lives with both reason and compassion. Author Giordano has a lyrical voice and an uncanny ability to create easy dialogue, real characters and a powerful message in this short book. The only fault I can find is that there wasn’t more of it.” —St. Louis Post-Dispatch
“Giordano describes this powerful, elegantly distilled tale of a sorrowful family as an homage to a real woman he knew. It is both unsentimental and heartbreaking.” —
“Giordano muses gorgeously on our inability to blend our life essences; even love leaves us lonely. A lovely remembrance played in a minor key.” —Kirkus Reviews
“Combining the edginess of modern life with the touching theme of losing someone who has become just like family, [this book] confirms Giordano as a writer who understands the complexities of human relationships.” —Publishers Weekly (starred review) 
“Beautifully crafted…its themes are universal and it will appeal to anyone who treasures the gifts of others.” —Library Journal (starred review)
“[A] short work of fiction can resonate more deeply than longer volumes. That’s the case with LIKE FAMILY, the elegiac new novella by Paolo Giordano…. This poignant work points out that there is no one way to define a family, and that, in any definition, the primary ingredient is the ability to love.”—BookPage

“Touching” —Bustle

Praise for THE HUMAN BODY:

The Human Body is a great novel of life in wartime: a chronicle of war’s multifarious crimes against the body and soul, and a heartfelt meditation on how men, together and collectively, repair the burdens of their fate.” —Joshua Ferris, author of To Rise Again at a Decent Hour
“Paolo Giordano’s new novel, like his last, is full of sensitivity and intelligence. The Human Body is a brilliant addition to the literature of our modern wars.” —Kevin Powers, author of The Yellow Birds
“With an extraordinarily keen eye and a pitch-perfect ear, Giordano has magnificently captured the surreal existence of the modern soldier.  By turn poignant and gripping – when not downright hilarious – every page of The Human Body rings with an authenticity and appreciation of the absurd that very few novelists writing about men stumbling about the business of war have achieved.  Very few indeed; think of O’Brien’s Going After Cacciato or Heller’s Catch-22, because Giordano is just that good.” —Scott Anderson, author of Lawrence in Arabia 
“Paolo Giordano has written his generation’s war novel.  Tender, cruel, beautiful, heartless, a brilliant story of desire and youth and death in Afghanistan.  Readers of Kevin Powers have been searching for another modern classic, and The Human Body is it.” —Andrew Sean Greer, author of The Impossible Lives of Greta Wells
“Giordano follows THE SOLITUDE OF PRIME NUMBERS with a stunning exploration of war. Giordano makes the tedium of combat fascinating with his well-drawn characters. The first page indicates that the platoon’s experience was particularly horrible… but the fact that the mission runs off the rails is almost secondary to the beauty, texture, and acuity with which Giordano captures the day-to-day routines of the soldiers, and their efforts to make sense of both their lives in Italy and their military assignment.” —Publishers Weekly (starred review)
“The Human Body is a memorable entry in the literature of the Afghan war, the characters crisply drawn and the writing full of telling details.” —Booklist
“Despite the tragic events, this is a very entertaining novel, with the characters’ innate and passionate sense of the absurdity of their situation, and of life itself, evident in every scene. The fast-paced, present-tense narrative seems to have been translated accurately to capture the nuances of emotion and drama conveyed by the highly intelligent and perceptive Giordano.” —Library Journal (starred review)
“Giordano’s (The Solitude of Prime Numbers, 2010) unorthodox Afghanistan war novel is short on action but rich in psychological insight…. As the title suggests, the book is less about military heroism than the devastating human impact of combat. Well-observed and compassionate, this is a memorable look at imperfect people in extreme circumstances.”—Kirkus Reviews


“Mesmerizing . . . [Giordano] works with piercing subtlety. An exquisite rendering of what one might call feelings at the subatomic level.”
The New York Times

“The story—the explanation, really—of how two people come to find solitude more comforting than companionship is the subtle work of Giordano’s haunting novel, a finely tuned machine powered by the perverse mechanics of need.” —The New York Times Book Review

“Seductive and unnerving.” —Entertainment Weekly

“The elegant and fiercely intelligent debut novel by 27-year-old physicist Paolo Giordano, The Solitude of Prime Numbers revolves around Mattia and Alice, friends since high school—‘twin primes, alone and lost, close but not close enough to really touch each other,’ wherein resides the seductive enchantment of this singular love story.” —Elle

“Giordano’s passionate evocation of being young and in despair will resonate strongly with readers.” —USA Today

“Elegant.” —Los Angeles Times

Author Q&A

1. The narrator in Like Family is a physicist with an academic career stalled in the petty politics of university life. Considering your background in academia, how does the narrator’s experience in that world echo your own? How does it differ?

I see the narrator of this novel as an alternative version of myself, someone I might have become if things hadn’t turned out in a different way; namely, if I hadn’t converted from physics to writing at some point in my life. It is not only the world of academia as I remember it—the competition, the fear of ending in some very isolated place—that I tried to reconstruct but also a specific state of mind that was dominant in me at that time, a severe, very cold rationality.

2. Have you or someone you love been touched by cancer or terminal illness? How did that inform your writing of Mrs. A.’s condition?

The novel was inspired by the illness of the “real” Mrs. A., a woman who worked in my house for a few years and then had to leave because of lung cancer. We were quite close. In the last year of her life, I followed the development of her sickness, took a lot of notes, interviewed her several times.

3. The title for this novel in Italian is The Black and the Silver. What is the significance of that phrase? Why was the title changed for the English edition?

The Black and the Silver refers to Galen’s theory of temperaments. At some point in the novel, the narrator talks about this ancient theory of medicine, according to which illnesses in the human body would be caused by an excess of a certain fluid. The “black” would be responsible both for cancer and for depression. That analogy struck me when I first read about it. But fluids of different colors are also responsible for the dominant character of a person. The narrator uses it to characterize both himself and his wife. And he chooses black and silver, respectively. For the American edition we decided, together with my editor, Pam Dorman, that a “warmer” title would suit the book better. And there is this beautiful expression in English, like family.

4. Which of the four humors would Galen ascribe to you?

Your guess.

5. The narrator discusses his admiration for Siddhartha Mukherjee’s book on cancer, The Emperor of All Maladies; you incorporate details from his book into your own. As a writer, which authors or works do you admire? As a reader, which authors or works do you enjoy?

There are way too many to mention. And for each book that I write, I need to reconstruct my pantheon. For this book, Flaubert’s A Simple Heart was of key importance. Other important references were Philip Roth’s Everyman, Marta Szabo’s The Door, and some of Alice Munro’s stories.

6. The relationship between domestic help and their families can be complex. What do you think can make this relationship successful? What do you think can cause it to be unsuccessful?

There is never a general strategy when it comes to human relationships. And the ones we have with people who work in our houses are made more difficult by the strong asymmetry that is implicit. They know a lot about us—sometimes even shameful secrets—and we know nothing about them. Sometimes life can abruptly change this situation and you might have the chance to discover the person who’s hidden behind the role. That’s what is described in the novel. This other person eventually becomes “like family.” But it’s rare enough, I guess.

7. What aspect or character in the novel did you find most challenging to write?

Getting inside the perspective of Mrs. A. was not easy at all. She’s a woman and of another generation, and then she becomes sick. These three things made it a tough challenge for me. But this was also my main goal in writing this book.

8. What are you working on now?

A new novel. Fingers crossed.

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