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Christopher Castellani Books In Order

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Publication Order of Grasso Family Trilogy Books

A Kiss from Maddalena (2003)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Saint of Lost Things (2005)Description / Buy at Amazon
All This Talk of Love (2013)Description / Buy at Amazon

Publication Order of Standalone Novels

Publication Order of Short Stories/Novellas

Publication Order of Non-Fiction Books

The Art of Perspective (2016)Description / Buy at Amazon

Christopher Castellani is a historical fiction novelist who was born and bred in Wilmington, Delaware to Italian immigrants.

He went to Swarthmore College in his teenage years and then to Tufts University for his English Literature master’s degree. He would then proceed to Boston University where he graduated with a creative writing Master of Fine Arts degree.
He published “A Kiss from Maddalena” his debut novel in 2003 and has since then become an award-winning novelist with at least half a dozen works to his name.

While he has penned many other works of fiction, it is “Leading Men,” which came out in 2019 that is deemed his breakout work. The work earned him fellowships from the Massachusetts Cultural Council, Macdowell, and the Guggenheim Foundation.
The novel has been optioned and is set to be made into a movie by Luca Guadagnino and Peter Spears with a Matthew Lopez screenplay adaptation also in the works.

Castellani is on the faculty of the Broad Loaf Writers’ Conference and the Low Residency MFA program at Warren Wilson College.

In 2015, he was awarded the Poets & Writers and Barnes & Noble Writer for Writers Award for his generosity toward fellow writers and his work with the literary community.
He is also the founder of the Marketplace and the Muse Literary Conference and often provides his services as Artistic Director under Grubstreet.

During the mid-1990s, Christopher Castellani went to study English literature in graduate school. For much of those years, he was part of a creative writing group that used to build each other up by exchanging stories.
By the time he was done with his coursework and only his dissertation was left, he was burnt out and hated his scholarly pursuits, as he preferred his fiction writing instead.

He took a sabbatical so that he could get an MFA and see if he liked it. Soon after getting into the program, he realized that he did not have much talent for short stories but was very good with novels.
He also found novel writing a lot easier and he felt a lot more comfortable with the genre. After graduating from the MFA program, he kept writing as part of his daily life, even as he taught comp and waited tables.
Unlike most authors, the jobs rather than the writing was the escape as he lived her novels. He used to go really deep into what he was writing which was something that he not only needed but also enjoyed.

Christopher Castellani’s draft for his debut novel was birthed when he was attending Boston University and attended a novella workshop by Ralph Lombreglia.

Once he graduated college, he continued writing the manuscript while teaching comp and waiting tables. Once he had about 50 pages, he sent it to the agent of Michelle Chalfoun one of her classmates from her MFA program.
Chalfoun had vouched for her and since she had already published a novel with the agent, she agreed to represent Castellani.

While the agent liked her first draft, she was not too enthusiastic about the completed manuscript which Christ sent nine months later, and decided to cut her loose.
Working with friends such as Kristin Duisberg and the ever-helpful Michelle, Christopher edited her manuscript and spent about a year revising it.
Ultimately, she sent the manuscript back to the original agent who suggested a few minor tweaks this time around.

A week later, Algonquin’s Antonia Fusco took a chance on Christopher and bought the manuscript that would then be published as “A Kiss from Maddalena.”

Castellani’s “The Saint of Lost Things” is a work set in 1953 that introduces the lead as a woman newly arrived in the US.

Maddalena Grasso has just come to the United States and cannot make any sense of the strange customs, the unfamiliar language, and her place in the extended family.
Antonio her husband has never been satisfied with anything as he chases the American dream of children, a new home, and a shiny new car.

He had managed to convince Maddalena to leave her family behind and get married to him but is now jealously watching over her. He is also increasingly frustrated by his inability to acquire the symbols of success he feels entitled to.
Antonia is also feeling a mixture of jealousy and contempt for Mario his brother who seems to be happy with his nondescript daughters, his average wife, and his employment as a manager at a restaurant.
Meanwhile, Maddalena tries his best try to make her husband enjoy the simpler joys of life, even as Renato his childhood friend who is notoriously single and very adventurous lures him with takes of easy wealth.

Christopher Castellani’s novel “All This Talk of Love” is an evocative exploration of a family affected by their ethnic culture and a past tragedy.

Maddalena and Antonio left Santa Cecila, Italy to move to the US about half a century earlier. Together, they had gotten three kids but tragically lost one of them a few years later.
In the present, Maddalena and Antonio are dealing with grief in solitary ways, even as their grandchildren and children come up with family constructs according to individual experiences.
For Maddalena who had been in a romantic affair with a boy she believed was her soul mate before she had to get married to Antonio, love is compartmentalized.

She always feels a strong need to cut herself off from her family back home in Italy and does not pick up any calls or answer letters.

When Prima her daughter tries to convince her to travel with the entire family back to Santa Cecila, she ferociously rejects the overtures.

With all manner of mini-family dramas and the many health challenges that Maddalena has to deal with, it is a story that explores the struggles of flawed characters dealing with complicated family histories and grief.

“A Kiss from Maddalena” by Christopher Castellani is a work set in Italy during the Second World War.

The lead is a young man named Vito who is a few months short of being qualified to be drafted. He knows many young men who have been drafted and have been killed at war.
While the war has made the impoverished village even poorer, it still maintains its support for Benito Mussolini.

Vito is interested in a romantic relationship with Maddalena but her parents arrange a marriage with a more socially amenable suitor. Maddalena is intrigued by Vito’s interest but there is little she can do about it.
Meanwhile, Italy totally collapses and withdraws from the war as Germans pour in trying to fill the void left.

Vito manages to rescue his mother and trying to build himself in the eyes of Maddalena’s parents, he rebuilds their home, even though his gesture does nothing for him.
Meanwhile, Maddalena wants to return Vito’s love but does she have the strength of character to go against external resistance?

Book Series In Order » Authors » Christopher Castellani

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