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“An enthralling tour de force …The gritty details of modern Italian life make Casa Rossa impossible to put down.” —USA Today
“[Marciano] amps up the glamour and mystery in her sophisticated novel about Italian sisters who clash over family, politics and men. Think La Dolce Vita turned topical tale.” —Glamour
“Elegant, eloquent prose . . . Casa Rossa is notable for its rueful understanding of the volatile mix of emotions that binds us to those we love.” —Los Angeles Times
“[A]ffecting, beautifully told. . . [R]ich and resonant. . .Marciano is a natural-born storyteller.”—The New York Times
“Beautifully told . . . rich and resonant. . . . Marciano is a natural-born storyteller.” —The New York Times Book Review
“A family epic [that] revolves around three generations of extraordinary women… Fans of Marciano’s first novel will once again embrace her sensual descriptions of exotic lands.” —San Francisco Chronicle
“Marciano brings Southern Italy as boldly to life as she did Kenya in Rules of the Wild. . . . imperturbably weav[ing] intricate complications together into a glamorous, romantic whole.” —Publishers Weekly
“Lyrical. . . . Romantic. . . . The story of a family whose secrets collide with history.” —Desert News
“Marciano. . .casts a sharp eye on the society that surrounds the family of the Casa Rossa. Her Italy is full of lies. . .But the search for truth takes courage, and the lesson learned in her novel is that the violence of the anni di piombo achieved nothing.” —The Economist
“Lyrical. . . . spiced with those special Italian flavors: beauty, melodrama, and–of course–murder. . . . Thank heaven for life’s little pleasures.” —Daily Candy NYC
“Marciano effectively intermingles family secrets, Italian history, and the loves and lives of her characters. A good read.” —Library Journal
“Tells the mesmerizing story of three generations of a twentieth century Italian family . . . with . . . passion and fervor. . . . Enthralling.” —Italian Tribune
”We are made to reevaluate history and to look at the human cost both of ideals and failures in ideals. . .The period [Marciano] describes may have been given a stylish apotheosis by the early Fellini, but it can survive now only in elegies which, like this one, are really indictments.” —Times Literary Supplement
1. How do Marciano's initial descriptions of Casa Rossa and the surrounding countryside [pp. 13, 15] create an emotional backdrop for the story that is about to unfold? What particular images or passages underscore the significance of the house in defining the relationships in the Strada family? How do the depictions of Stellario and the other villagers help to establish the family's cultural and social values?
2. Is Lorenzo's "indecent" fresco of Renée [p. 22] more than a reflection of his fury at her betrayal and departure? What does it reveal about his character and his beliefs about the roles of men and women in a marriage? To what extent does Renée share his attitudes? What marks the turning point in their relationship?
3. Why does Lorenzo describe Jeanne's insistence on painting the house red as "Jeanne drowning Renée in a bloodbath" [p. 27]? What other interpretations of the name "Casa Rossa" emerge over the course of the novel?
4. When she is a little girl, Alba first hears the rumors that her mother worked for the Germans [p. 40-41]. Why does she ask Jeanne, rather than her father, about the stories? How does the language Jeanne uses to describe Renée-"nobody knew the story of your mother, where she came from, what her real name was [p. 42]"-convey the way thefamily has chosen to view Renée and her place in the family history?
5. How does the relationship between Alba and Oliviero mirror the relationship between Lorenzo and Renée? Compare, for example, the descriptions of the first meetings of each couple [pp. 10-13, 45] What is the significance of the men's professions-a painter and a man who "makes stories" for a living-in attracting the women?
6. Why does Alina decide to move to New York City? What does America represent to her?
7. At the beginning of Casa Rossa, Alina says, "There is something that has been handed down from woman to woman in my family. I don't know how to call it. A secret, an unspoken legacy-it needs to remain concealed, it's something to be ashamed of" [p.14]. How does Alba choose to deal with the family's secret shame? How does her choice affect her own life and happiness? What impact does it have on her daughters? Does Alina understand and accept the legacy by the end of the novel?
8. The manipulation of memory and reconstruction of the past is a major theme of Casa Rossa. What parallels are there between the stories the Strada family constructs and the historical record the Italians have constructed about their participation in World War II and about the domestic terrorism that explodes in the 1980s?
9. Is it essential for people to recognize and face up to mistakes and misdeeds committed by previous generations? Can denial-either personal or communal-serve a positive purpose?
Posted January 2, 2007
I enjoyed the book as a whole and the 'story' was good but the timelines were not consistant. I found myself having to go back and check to make sure I understood when things were happening or had happened. i.e. there was a photo of Renee' dated 1940 showing how young and carefree she was. But later in the story it was said that she was unhappy and left at around the same time? There were several other timeline issues that I noticed, but like I said I still enjoyed the book so I gave it three stars.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted June 13, 2006
I read Casa rossa in 2 nights.Loved every page ! Beautiful ,very real story about italians.You will see love stories,amazing characters of people from Rome or tiny village in Puglia,so ,please,buy this book and enjoy it.I am looking forward to found another books by Franceska...Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted May 5, 2003
Casa Rossa, set primarily in Puglia, the heel of the Italian 'boot,' is a fascinating, multigenerational story with an incredible number of twists and turns. Part mystery, part social commentary, part folklore it is written with a great sense of place (be it Puglia, Rome, Northern Italy or New York) and finely chiseled characters. It moves a tad too fast at times, reflecting the author's screenwriting background, but otherwise is a superb novel.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted February 7, 2009
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