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The Courtyard Of Dreams
     

The Courtyard Of Dreams

by Anna Monardo
 

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This culturally rich first novel by Anna Monardo tells the story of 17-year-old Giulia Di Cuore, a first-generation Italian-American growing up in the 1960s. The young protagonist struggles with the old-world values of her father, who insists that she travel to Italy to visit her extended family. To her own surprise, Giula discovers her place in the world as a

Overview

This culturally rich first novel by Anna Monardo tells the story of 17-year-old Giulia Di Cuore, a first-generation Italian-American growing up in the 1960s. The young protagonist struggles with the old-world values of her father, who insists that she travel to Italy to visit her extended family. To her own surprise, Giula discovers her place in the world as a daughter, as a woman and as an American.The Courtyard of Dreams is "a novel of great beauty and perception." (Pat Conroy)

"A novel of great charm that attempts to penetrate the unique genius of the Italian family." (Kirkus Reviews)

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
First novelist Monardo's poignant coming-of-age drama shows a teenager struggling to reconcile two cultural traditions during one pivotal summer in the early 1970s. Giulia Di Cuore, raised in Ohio by her Italian-born father Nicola, defies his attachment to Old World ways as she battles to become an independent woman and to enjoy such American liberties as dating. When she goes to Italy the summer before entering college, she discovers a world far different than what she had expected, one abundant with affectionate aunts, uncles, cousins and grandparents. Her Italian heritage gains meaning and helps Giulia begin to determine her own identity and escape her father's sometimes stifling, though always loving grasp. When he joins her at the summer's end, Nicola finds his idealized vision of Italy threatened by Giulia's newfound freedom, and he provokes a confrontation that affects the entire extended family. Monardo's spare but intense descriptions of the Italian landscape have the clarity of well-focused photos. Although Monardo indulges in some heavy foreshadowing and increases the pace too rapidly toward the end, she has made an impressive debut, delicately evoking both a young girl's burgeoning sensuality and her maturing appreciation of the emotional sustenance family can provide. (Aug.)
Library Journal
Set during the pivotal months after high school graduation, this evocative work has a distinctive voice. Giulia DiCuore has grown up in Ohio with her widowed Italian psychiatrist father in the early Seventies. He is stricter than most Italian fathers, and Giulia's three-month visit to Italy to see relatives after graduation is a revelation that life can be filled with warmth and trust. Cliched events such as her sexual initiation are powerful and utterly convincing. Boyfriend Luca and the entire cast of family and friends are believably drawn. Monardo skillfully avoids stereotypes by supplying individual twists to characters and plot. The result is a satisfying portrait of the often complex transition from child to independent adult and the complication of cultural heritage. An excellent first novel.-- Rebecca S. Kelm, Northern Kentucky Univ. Lib., Highland Heights
School Library Journal
YA-An almost poetically written coming-of-age novel. Giulia De Cuore tells about the joys and strains of being an only child raised by a widowed, Italian-immigrant father dedicated to hard work and strong family ties. Through flashbacks, she describes some of her strongest memories of an obedient childhood growing up in Ohio. Her high school years, however, become increasingly painful because of the conflict between her father's conservative, protective style of parenting and her yearning to be a typical American teenager. In the summer before college, the girl accepts her father's long-standing offer to visit the half of her family that never came to America. While in Italy, Giulia embarks on a journey of self-discovery and falls in love with her cousin's best friend. This love affair eventually completes the rebellion that brings her to womanhood and to a painful but necessary pulling away from her father. Through all of this, she is abetted by an array of relatives who accept her as a member of a delightful extended family. The reconciliation with her father that comes at the end is both realistic and satisfying.-Carolyn E. Gecan, Thomas Jefferson Sci-Tech, Fairfax County, VA

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780595003372
Publisher:
iUniverse, Incorporated
Publication date:
05/01/2000
Pages:
308
Product dimensions:
5.50(w) x 8.50(h) x 0.69(d)

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