I have been discovering new authors (well, actually, famous authors who are new to me)--ones who are going to be a part of the Jane Austen anthology coming out this fall by Ballantine books.
I had the great pleasure of reading Very Valentine, Adriana Trigiani's 2009 book about a woman's quest for self discovery in her big Italian family as she joins her grandmother in carrying on the family's wedding shoe business.
What a beautiful book! Full of famiglia, its ups and downs, and figuring out what it is you really want out of life. I loved it!
Today I'd like to show you some passages from this book that show the sensory aspects of Trigiani's language. Man alive, her prose purrs!
To be able to write like this--using all of the senses and using contrasts that continually surprise and jarr in the most delightful ways...
Well, don't believe me. Take a look for yourselves:
Roman takes my face in his hands. As our lips meet for the first time, his kiss is gentle and sensual, and very direct, like the man himself. I might as well be on the Piazza Medici on the isle of Venice, as his touch takes me far from where I stand and off to someplace wonderful, a place I haven't been in a very long time. As Roman slides his arms around me, the silk of my dress makes a rustling sound, like the dip of an oar into the canal in the mural behind him. (Page 85)
As Gianluca slows down, I see a lake throught he trees. It shimmers like pale blue silk taffeta. The edges of the water are blurred by wild fronds of deep green stalks that bend and twist over the shoreline. I commit the color scheme to memory. How lucious it would be to create an icy blue shoe with a deep green feather trim. I roll down the windows to get a closer look. The sun hits the water like a slew of silver arrows. (Page 216)
As we say goodnight, I lean back on the pillows and dream of Roman Falconi. I imagine him, the blue sea, the pink clouds, and the hot sun over Capri. As I sink into a deep and satisfying sleep, I imagine my lovers's arms around me in warm sand. ((Page 228)
I survey the long line of passengers. Not one look of understanding or sympathy comes my way. I cry some more. My face begins to itch with the tears. I wipe my face with my sleeve. I remember my father's words to me. Nothing ever seems to go right for you. You have to work for everything. Well, now I have a new revelation--not only do I have to work for everything, but the work may go totally unrewarded. What is the point? (Page 232)
Fuchsia flowers cascade over the rocks, bursts of purple bougainvillea spill off the cliffs, while the emerald waves along the water's edge reveal glossy red coral, like the chips of red candle wax on a wine bottle. (Page 233)
I just haven't had enough of Valentine Roncalli and her world. Already bought the sequel, Brava. Valentine.
Heard her YA books are fab too--the first was Viola in the Reel Life (about a young teen videographer) and the second, Viola in the Spotlight, just came out this week.