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The Homecoming Party
Carmine Abate, Antony Shugaar (translator)
Europa Editions ISBN: 978-1-933372-83-9
Pub. date: August 2010
192 pages
Size: 5 ¼ x 8 ¼
Price: $15.00

It is Christmas Eve. Sitting on the steps of the village church in front of an enormous bonfire lit in celebration of the season, a father and his son exchange stories. The father speaks of life as an emigrant from Italy, in perpetual limbo between departure and return, between France and his home. The son tells of a life marred by his father’s long absences but also of an otherwise idyllic childhood spent in a vivid, enchanting land. Each hides an awful secret concerning the fate of a mysterious man whose affair with the boy’s older sister changed their lives. On this night of nights, as the long-buried details seep through each man’s story, a shared truth will finally emerge.

Set in an Arbëreshë town in southern Italy and told in alternating first-person voices, The Homecoming is simultaneously a coming-of-age novel, a love story, and a heartfelt cry against the atrocious standards of living that force so many southern Italians to seek a better life elsewhere. Here is an intense and moving novel about the difficulties of saying goodbye by one of Italy’s greatest storytellers.

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