I have a quote posted on the bulletin board in my home office: “Don’t cry because it’s over: Smile because it happened”. And thinking about my reaction upon finishing The Sun and Other Stars by Brigid Pasulka I understand what that phrase means. I found myself on the verge of tears for no apparent reason, yet I was smiling at having had the opportunity to live in this world for just a little while.
Set in the small town of San Benedetto, Italy, this is a novel about loss and about dealing with loss. It is about relationships – within a family and with others who may as well be family. It is about moving out of the shadow of another to become your own person.
The thread that ties all of this together in the novel is the passion for calcio, (aka soccer to those of us on this side of the Atlantic). I always knew that soccer/football/calcio was a big deal in many parts of the world, but this story highlighted both the big and small reasons why it is such a popular sport. With the World Cup being played in just a few months, I think this would be the perfect novel to read ahead of watching the matches.
What I loved about this novel is that I felt like I was living in San Benedetto with all of its quirky residents because of the way the author sprinkled in Italian words and phrases into the narration. I also loved that it is a novel where nothing BIG happens, yet there is enough action to keep turning the pages.
I loved Brigid Pasulka’s first novel as well (A Long Long Time Ago and Essentially True – reviewed here) and I really hope that I don’t have to wait another 4 years to read her next one. First Poland, now Italy — I can’t wait to find out where she will send me next time…..