Like his character Frankie Grasso from All This Talk of Love, Christopher Castellani is the child of Italian immigrants, was born in Wilmington, Delaware, and is now living in Boston. Each of the three novels that Castellani has written to date deals either with Italy or Italian immigrants, but in All This Talk of Love he creates a family whose situation more closely mirrors that of his own family, leading to a novel that rings incredibly true.
It has been 50 years since Maddalena left Italy on the arm of Antonio Grasso. In all that time she has never visited her country of birth, and since her mother died she has barely had any contact at all with anyone from their village of Santa Cecilia. For years, returning home was all that Maddalena wanted to do, but now the knowledge of how things must have changed in the land of her home makes the thought of going back fill Maddalena with dread.
Unfortunately for Maddalena, her strong-willed daughter Prima has a surprise for the family: She and her husband have bought tickets for all of them to return to their ancestral home. Not only for Prima and her husband and children, but for Maddalena, Antonio and their youngest child Frankie, as well. Soon the entire family is split on the subject of Italy: Prima and Antonio who desperately want to go, and want Maddalena to go, and Maddalena and Frankie who are determined to avoid the trip at any cost.
Like most families, the Grassos have much more going on than immediately meets the eye. The thing that is hanging over all of them is the death decades earlier of Maddalena and Antonio’s eldest son, Tony. Tony’s death irrevocably shaped the family, it is even the reason Frankie was born, in the wake of his parents’ grief. More immediate are the concerns about Antonio and Maddalena’s ages. Antonio is always updating his will, sure he won’t be around for another year and desperate to make sure the family restaurant ends up in the best hands. For Maddalena the concern is less about her physical health than her mental health — Alzheimer’s took both her mother and sister.
Prima's proposed trip has the potential to tear the Grasso family apart, but does it have the power to unite them?
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