Be glad in the Lord and rejoice! Psalm 32:11

Friday, February 7, 2014

The Sun and Other Stars by Brigid Pasulka - Review

About The Book:

In the seaside village of San Benedetto, a resort town on the Italian Riviera, twenty-two year- old Etto finds himself adrift. Within the past year, Etto has not only lost both his twin brother and his mother, but in his grief has become estranged from his father, the local butcher. While his father passes the time with the men of the town in the fine tradition of Italian men everywhere—a reverential obsession with soccer—Etto retreats ever further from his day-to-day life, seeking solace in the hills above the town.

But then a Ukrainian soccer star, the great Yuri Fil, sweeps into San Benedetto, taking refuge himself from an international scandal. Soon Yuri and his captivating tomboy sister Zhuki invite Etto into their world of sport, celebrity, loyalty, and humor. Under their influence, Etto begins to reconstruct his relationship with his father and, slowly, open himself back up to the world. Who knows: perhaps the game of soccer isn’t just a waste of time, and perhaps San Benedetto, his father, love, and life itself might have more to offer him than he ever believed possible.
The Sun and Other Stars is a gorgeous, celebratory tale about families, compromise, and community, and about how losses can be transformed into hope. Irresistible and unforgettable, it is a shimmering miracle of a book.

My Thoughts:

Let me first say that if you know nothing about soccer, you will by the time you finished reading "The Sun and Other Stars!" Author Brigid Pasulka delivers a charming and thoughtful story of a son's difficult relationship with his soccer-obsessed father and how the game just might bring the two back together, with a little help a soccer star and his sister.

Pasulka fills this story with a large cast of fascinating characters - from Etto, the butcher's son to Fede, the "playboy" friend to Zhuki, the tomboyish sister of the soccer star - all are genuine and realistic and add to the tale with their own particular quirks and personalities. The background of the story is rather sad, but as it progress readers will root for Etto as he stumbles and tumbles through life trying to find a way to get his relationship with his father and his life back on track.

I will have to admit I had a hard time with the rather immense amount of Italian phrases sprinkled throughout the story, but found that I soon could identify and understand the gest behind certain words as the story went along.  Also, as a non-soccer fan, there was a lot of soccer references that I didn't get as well as someone who adores the sport might. But I could well appreciate how the sport does tie-in to making the overall story work, and Pasulka does a brilliant job incorporating all the key ingredients of a well-written story to bring this family drama together in a way that will satisfy the reader.

Overall, this is a lovingly told story that will remain with the reader long after the final page is turned.   I highly recommend it.

About The Author:

Brigid Pasulka’s debut novel, A Long, Long Time Ago and Essentially True, won the 2010 Hemingway Foundation/PEN Award and was a Barnes & Noble Discover Great New Writers selection. Pasulka currently lives in Chicago with her husband and runs the writing center at a public high school.

Visit her website at www.BrigidPasulka.com.

My thanks to the publisher Simon and Schuster for supplying the review copy of this book. I was not compensated for my opinion.

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1 comment:

stacybuckeye said...

Great review. I love stories set in Italy - although I'll have trouble with the Italian phrases too.