The Seven or Eight Deaths of Stella Fortuna

The Seven or Eight Deaths of Stella Fortuna

In this stunning debut novel, a young woman tells the story behind two elderly sisters’ estrangement, unraveling family secrets stretching back a century and across the Atlantic to early 20th century ItalyFor Stella Fortuna, death has always been a part of life. Stella’s childhood is full of strange, life-threatening incidents—moments where ordinary situations like cooking...

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Title:The Seven or Eight Deaths of Stella Fortuna
Author:Juliet Grames
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Edition Language:English

The Seven or Eight Deaths of Stella Fortuna Reviews

  • Ova - Excuse My Reading

    This was a fantastic read- from start to finish.

    It reminded me a lot of Marquez's A Hundred Years of Solitude from time to time although the magical realism in this one wasn't as dominant.

    This is the story of an Italian American immigrant family through the character Stella Fortuna and her encounters with danger nearly resulting with her death. Starts from a small Italian village in mountains, where Fortuna's struggle to make ends, a poor life in village. Then fate takes them to America in it's

    This was a fantastic read- from start to finish.

    It reminded me a lot of Marquez's A Hundred Years of Solitude from time to time although the magical realism in this one wasn't as dominant.

    This is the story of an Italian American immigrant family through the character Stella Fortuna and her encounters with danger nearly resulting with her death. Starts from a small Italian village in mountains, where Fortuna's struggle to make ends, a poor life in village. Then fate takes them to America in it's complicated ways, I really loved this part where decades of the Italian immigrants lives were explored, how much they worked to make America 'great' and what it took to be a citizen.

    Comparisons between the refugee crises and the people fleeing ww2 from Europe to America were spot on...

    Some Trigger warnings: The book touches dark and disturbing subjects (rape, incest) from time to time but it doesn't go cringey/graphic and more importantly doesn't victimise the female characters so I did the feel disgusted like I felt in some other books. The style of writing is poetic and names are such an important part of this book- which made me think of A Hundred years of Solitude a lot!

    I can go on forever but this is an epic book, could be defined as a lot of things; a family saga, a slice of history, a look at women's struggles in Italian traditions, I have read this over a weekend and literally was lost in the pages. Really enjoyed it, a five star read.

    One final note: I was really disheartened by the books name as there seems to be a trend with '7 somethings...' but this is definitely worth checking out. Could have had a more original name for this fantastic story I think!

  • Liz Barnsley

    Oh this book. I’m not even sure where to start…

    I had some doubt when I picked it up to start reading, epic family drama not being in my immediate comfort zone – then an hour later I’d devoured multiple chapters only emerging when my alarm went off for work. That’s how it gets you…

    The scene setting is intensely immersive, from the small Italian village to the wider sprawl of America, Juliet Grames descriptive prose puts you right at the heart of the story, it opens up around you with breathtaking

    Oh this book. I’m not even sure where to start…

    I had some doubt when I picked it up to start reading, epic family drama not being in my immediate comfort zone – then an hour later I’d devoured multiple chapters only emerging when my alarm went off for work. That’s how it gets you…

    The scene setting is intensely immersive, from the small Italian village to the wider sprawl of America, Juliet Grames descriptive prose puts you right at the heart of the story, it opens up around you with breathtakingly beautiful effect.

    This gorgeous book lives and breathes within the hearts and sometimes dark souls of its characters, the ever expanding Fortuna family, right at the centre of that sits the much haunted, vividly real, spiky and ahead of her time Stella Fortuna.

    Through the months, years and decades Stella faces every kind of adversity and you are with her every single step of the way. She is formed and grown through many inciting events, the heavy weight of a woman’s lot in life in those times is fascinatingly compelling, as you see the impossibly independent Stella bend, sometimes break, but never totally give up.

    All around her other beautifully drawn and utterly authentic characters circle, her Mother Assunta and sister Tina being the centre of her world, a world ruled by the selfish patriarch Tony Fortuna. There are many more as the generations expand and as a reader you suck every single one of them into your consciousness where they will remain, this is an insanely powerful novel on every level.

    The plotting is a work of complete genius, the phases of Stella’s life focused around each of her almost deaths, often ironically so, there’s not many people whose lives have been saved by a typo. In what seems like no time at all you are at the end, all the deeply held secrets revealed, leaving you at a loss as to what to do next. It’s one of those stories that as an emotional reader you’ll never let go.

    The Seven Or Eight Deaths of Stella Fortuna is a sprawling epic, an intuitive, nuanced expression of the female condition, of life battles won and lost, it is without doubt one of the best books I’ve read maybe even ever.

    I hit every range of feeling possible at various points of reading this so therefore I have absolutely no choice but to highly recommend it. Beautiful, complex, heart breaking and real. Go get it.

  • Tammy

    Both Stella Fortuna and her sister Tina are alive today and this fictionalized account is written by a family member. It’s really Stella’s story and it spans one hundred years. As you might imagine, a lot happens. It begins in a remote mountain village in Cambria, Italy and ends in Connecticut. So this is an immigrant story about a family and what a family it is. It’s a tale about surviving numerous brushes with death as well as poverty both in Italy and the USA. It’s also about the bond between

    Both Stella Fortuna and her sister Tina are alive today and this fictionalized account is written by a family member. It’s really Stella’s story and it spans one hundred years. As you might imagine, a lot happens. It begins in a remote mountain village in Cambria, Italy and ends in Connecticut. So this is an immigrant story about a family and what a family it is. It’s a tale about surviving numerous brushes with death as well as poverty both in Italy and the USA. It’s also about the bond between two very different sisters and the struggle to break free of cultural expectations. I would be remiss if I did not add, as a trigger warning, that there is abuse both psychological and physical. Nonetheless, it is a well told and fascinating story of an ordinary family with the extraordinary ability to survive each other.

  • Nadia

    After reading the opening paragraph which gives you a pretty good idea of what the book is about, I knew I would enjoy this book. And I

    After reading the opening paragraph which gives you a pretty good idea of what the book is about, I knew I would enjoy this book. And I was right! Written as a memoir by a descendant of Stella Fortuna, the story centers around Stella and her family. It is a fascinating account of an Italian family adapting to an American way of life in 1940s and beyond. Stella comes from a humble background but is strong willed and stubborn from a very young age which does not fit in well with the traditional Italian patriarchal family structure. Throughout the book I was rooting for Stella to get her ways despite her whole family opposing to her ideas. Stella is also cursed or so does her mother believes as Stella comes near death way too many times throughout her life.

  • Umut Reviews

    I'm afraid this book disappointed me for some reasons. The opening was very interesting, intriguing, but I was quickly let down afterwards.

    I guess there's a trend with 'Seven's somehow because there are a few books out there with similar titles. It's probably aiming to utilise the hype around Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle, or Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo. Also, the near death experiences was the core of a memoir written by Maggie O'Farrell's beautiful "I Am I Am I Am." So, I'm a little con

    I'm afraid this book disappointed me for some reasons. The opening was very interesting, intriguing, but I was quickly let down afterwards.

    I guess there's a trend with 'Seven's somehow because there are a few books out there with similar titles. It's probably aiming to utilise the hype around Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle, or Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo. Also, the near death experiences was the core of a memoir written by Maggie O'Farrell's beautiful "I Am I Am I Am." So, I'm a little confused about the originality of this book.

    That set aside, I couldn't get along with the writing in this book first of all, as it was from a third person perspective. And I think it's one of the hardest to pull off. In this case, I didn't think it was successful. It was like a chronological order of events rather than an emotional life story. It felt very distant and cold. The names were mentioned very frequently, which was disruptive to the reading experience. On one small page, the same name was repeated 5 times. The sentences were also short and felt choppy. It wasn't a fluid, lyrical or emotional story-telling. it was like listing the turn of events.

    Other main reason is the book is very dark, and it just doesn't change throughout. it's bad luck after bacd luck without a break. I understand in Italy, small town, male dominated society, but it didn't change in America as well. I understand maybe the writer is trying to make a point of 'women's lives' were hard in those times, but still, I'd look for more balanced story.

    Also, the book was very long for what it tells, so detailed to make it boring, that I had to skim read some pages.

    Lastly, trigger warnings for abuse and incest for sensitive readers.

    So, I'm afraid it wasn't for me, but I'm sure it might appeal to some readers who has different taste.

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