Michelle Alfano

October 27th, 2008 § 1 comment § permalink

Made Up of Arias

ISBN 978-0-9784321-5-7
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Made up of AriasLilla, Joey and Clara Pentangeli, their father Salvatore and their mercurial mother Seraphina live on Paradise Street behind a giant billboard, in a charmed world filled with operatic heroines. Seraphina idolizes Maria Callas. Between bouts of housework, she re-enacts Violetta’s death scene from La Traviata, dresses in a kimono like CioCioSan in Madama Butterfly, and concocts outrageous tales for her three enchanted children. She also reveals one or two secrets from her past. At last real-life tragedy overtakes the house on Paradise.

Michelle Alfano is a Toronto writer and a Co-Editor with the literary quarterly Descant. Her short story “Opera,” on which Made Up Of Arias is based, was a finalist for the Journey Prize. Her fiction and non-fiction work has been published in Canada and in the United States. She will be featured in a forthcoming documentary on the passengers, and the children of the passengers, of the Saturnia, an immigrant ship which transported thousands of Italian-born immigrants to Canada in the 1950s and 60s and which will be featured on OMNI-TV. She blogs at alitchick.blogspot.com

“Michelle Alfano’s [Made Up of Arias is a] colourful, beautiful and fascinating story of the Pentangeli family immigrating to Canada” —Stefania Bartucci, “Italian-Canadian author Michelle Alfano connects opera to immigration,” Tandem, February 13, 2011

“I laughed out loud and cried too as I read this wonderful novella…There is such joy in this family, and there is such sorrow too and Michelle Alfano evokes all of that with her stunning prose and her ability to make us see and grow to love this family, and just like in an opera, we also get to see ourselves.” —Rachel Guido deVries, forthcoming review, Voices in Italian Americana, Spring 2011

“Winner of the 2010 Bressani Award for Short Fiction”. This prize was established by the Italian Canadian Writers Conference. It is designed  to honour and promote the literary work of Canadian writers of Italian origin or Italian descent. (Please check out Michelle’s blog for more information on this: alitchick.blogspot.com)

Made Up of Arias is all the voices of childhood, all the stories that allow a child’s imagination to safely try on adult themes. Alfano is a keen observer, with an eye for detail and a gift for humour.” —Julie Booker, author Silver Hearts

“Michelle Alfano speaks in the beautifully compelling, yet remarkably guileless voice of her protagonist and narrator, Lilla Pentangeli…Michelle Alfano’s mastery of English and Italian, her knowledge of opera, and her ability to elevate the ordinary, are inspiring and transforming.” —Lina Medaglia, author The Demons of Aquilonia

“Michelle Alfano’s Made Up of Arias beautifully evokes an immigrant childhood lived against the backdrop of opera, which stands in for all that her characters have lost or will never attain even while it speaks to the most common and everyday of their tragedies and joys. Alfano writes with the humour and compassion of someone who not only understands her characters, but forgives them.” —Nino Ricci, author The Origin of Species and Lives of the Saints

Made up of Arias is an important and welcome addition to the tradition of Italian-Canadian literary voices … an outstanding writer whose fiction carves a distinct place in Canada’s national narrative. Beautifully observed, richly comic, heartbreaking and compelling, Made up of Arias, deserves to be read by a broad audience as well as specialists. —Lilia Topouzova, screenwriter The Mosquito Problem

Book design by Christian Snyder. Cover art by Amber Albrecht.

Sylvia Markle-Craine

October 27th, 2008 § 597 comments § permalink

Swimming to Fatima
ISBN 978-0-9784321-3-3
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Swimming to FatimaA cycle of spare, sweet-sad, magical tales. A small girl dreams a house floating away. Lolly loves pink. Walter and Hank conduct a juke-box war. Tessie dances with a spectral Sidney Greenstreet. Sadie may or may not have caused Lila to be air-borne. Characters migrate between stories. Down-to-earth realism turns out to be not quite real after all. Limited and damaged lives are refracted and transformed, as in a kaleidoscope, by absurdity, by wonder, by magic and desire. As a character in one of these stories reflects, thinking of the last word in Joyce’s Ulysses, the answer to the mystery of life is YES.

Sylvia Markle-Craine lives in Guelph, Ontario. She has published poetry and short stories. One of her stories won first prize in the Eden Mills Writers’ Festival Literary Contest.

“With some basic ingredients she cooks up just enough magic to make perfect little fables from what on some level amounts to an album of small town gossip. By inviting readers behind closed doors, she reveals worlds rich in character, the quirky opinions and pursuits of those characters, and the diner-friendly language they use to communicate with one another….at the intersection of strangeness and character Markle-Craine writes her most descriptive, sensual sentences to help us tune into the smaller details of daily existence.” —”Off the Shelf”

Book design by Christian Snyder. Cover art by Amber Albrecht.

Michael Linhares

October 27th, 2008 § 358 comments § permalink

Autumn Hollow

ISBN 978-0-9784321-4-0
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Autumn HollowA first collection in the tradition of the strange, the weird, the uncanny tale. Set in a ghost- and ghoul-haunted woodland, located somewhere between horror and fantasy, in which past and present intertwine, these stories throb with recurring motifs or symbols—a horse, a dog, a weathervane, a wheelbarrow, a length of wire fence, snow, ice, a river, a coffin—with the eerie insistence of dreams, in a mad loop of no beginning, no ending and no escape.

Michael Linhares lives near Toronto, Ontario. This is his first book.

Book design by Christian Snyder. Cover art by Amber Albrecht.


October 27th, 2007 § 76 comments § permalink

Luggas Wood

ISBN 978-0-9784321-1-9
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Luggas Wood

And did those feet in ancient time
Walk upon England’s mountains green?

In Luggas Wood, a dark and brooding headland on the border of England and Wales, an extension of this ancient myth may be playing itself out. Max Pilbeam, successful sculptor and architect, is hoping to re-invigorate a career, and a life, gone stale. A corpse, a mysterious grotto, an encounter in The Ferryman, an affecting homily on the Stabat mater, a class in Creative Writing in which an unsettling story is discussed, a dinner party in which is raised the question of why there is something rather than nothing. Max starts a new commission, learns about daffodils, meets a band of pilgrims, before realizing, on Easter Morning, what he is meant to do in Luggas Wood.

S.K.Johannesen is a frequent contributor to Canadian literary magazines and the author of the novel Sister Patsy (Pasdeloup Press, 2003). He lives in Stratford.

Book design by Christian Snyder. Cover art by Amber Albrecht.

Ricardo L. Nirenberg

October 27th, 2007 § 443 comments § permalink

Wave Mechanics: A Love Story

ISBN 978-0-9784321-0-2
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Wave Mechanics

Just before Christmas 1925, the Austrian physicist Erwin Schrödinger took himself and a mistress off to a holiday in the Swiss ski-resort town of Arosa. On January 9th, when they emerged from their labours, Schrödinger had the key to the wave mechanics that would revolutionize twentieth-century science. What took place in Arosa? Who was the unidentified girlfriend? What is the relationship between this tryst and Schrödinger’s mighty burst of creativity in a period of two-and-a-half weeks? More than one secret is revealed, and along the way we learn a great deal about the relations between Sex and Science.

Ricardo Nirenberg was born and grew up in Buenos Aires. He is the author of a previous novel, Cry Uncle (Latino Press, 1998) and short stories, essays on literary and philosophical themes, and poetic translations. He edits the online literary journal of(f)course at offcourse.org.

“Ricardo L. Nirenberg’s exquisite 2007 novel Wave Mechanics…addresses the circumstances surrounding the creation/discovery of physicist Erwin Schrödinger’s wave equation in 1926, a discovery that substantially altered the landscape of Western physics and chemistry in the last century, along with Werner Heisenberg’s Uncertainty Principle—which some readers may note are more or less mathematically identical….Wave Mechanics is just one hell of a complicated, smart, sexy, and all-around good story….a feast for the senses, a challenge for the mind, and a book I cannot praise enough. In fact, my only regret about this book is that it will not likely get the readership it deserves as a small press release. Those readers or audiences who enjoyed such speculative explorations of 20th Century science as Michael Frayn’s Copenhagen (a play about Heisenberg, his uncertainty principle, and Nazi Germany) will definitely want to order a copy of Nirenberg’s book, as will those who found Copenhagen lacking in passion and heart.” —JoSelle Vanderhooft

Book design by Christian Snyder. Cover art by Amber Albrecht.

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