This Easter, we’re introducing you to some of our most exciting debut authors for 2019.
Juliet Grames is the author of The Seven or Eight Deaths of Stella Fortuna, a captivating and huge-hearted novel spanning rural Calabria and mid-century Connecticut, which follows the life (and deaths) of one exceptional woman.
We asked Juliet to share some details about Stella Fortuna, along with a few recommendations of her own, in a very special Easter-themed Q&A!
When you’re on the hunt for a new read, how do you go about discovering one?
My favorite way to discover books is passively—basically, if someone tells me to read something because they think I’ll like it, I try to read it, regardless of genre or obscurity. I also want to know as little as possible about the book before I start reading. I don’t like plot (even tiny details!) to be spoiled, so I don’t read synopses or cover copy. I’m a terrible bookstore browser. I either go barging in with a specific request or I just ask the bookseller to pick something out for me.
Tell us a little bit about how ‘new beginnings’ are celebrated in your book.
My book is about starting over—and over, and over, etc—not always by choice, but sometimes by sheer force of will. When my main character, Stella Fortuna, emigrates to the United States in 1939 from a very socially conservative village in remote Southern Italy, she and her sister, Tina, decide they want to cement their new identity as Americans by cutting off their long hair and getting trendy American perms. It was something my grandmother did when she first arrived in America, and I have taken inspiration from her and chopped my hair short to celebrate a fresh start on several occasions.
If you were to set up a bookish Easter egg hunt, which five books would you choose to hide and why?
I’d pick my 5 favorite intergenerational sagas!
1. Amy Tan, The Joy Luck Club (can’t believe it’s the thirtieth anniversary this year!)
2. Yaa Gyasi, Homegoing
3. Jeffrey Eugenides, Middlesex
4. Tea Obreht, The Tiger’s Wife
5. Gabriel Garcia Marquez, One Hundred Years of Solitude
How do you think your main character might celebrate Easter?
With homemade cavatelli and tons and tons and tons of cookies (especially pizzelle)! Probably arrayed in silver trays on a hand-crocheted lace table cloth.