Household Saints

Francine Prose

published by
Open Road Media
This tale of a family in Little Italy is “a minor miracle . . . documenting the madness and the grace of God in everyday life” (Newsweek).

On a 1950s September night so hot that the devout Catholics of Little Italy wonder if New York City has slipped into hell, the butcher Joseph Santangelo invites his friends to play pinochle. At the end of a long, sweaty, boozy evening, his friend Lino Falconetti, addled by wine and heat, bets the hand of his daughter, Catherine—and Santangelo wins.

Santangelo’s modern new wife clashes immediately with his superstitious, fiercely protective mother. But years later, it is Catherine who is horrified when the daughter they raise turns out to have more in common with the old world than the new.

From a New York Times–bestselling author, this story of two generations of an Italian-American family is imaginative, evocative, funny, and warm—and was made into an acclaimed film directed by Nancy Savoca, starring Tracey Ullman, Vincent D’Onofrio, and Lili Taylor.


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