ALL THE WAY TO ITALY by Flavia Brunetti is a modern tale of homecoming through generation past.
Until her dad died, Little considered herself a Californian. Now, thanks to half a letter, a symbol she can’t quite remember, and writer’s block, she finds herself back in Italy, the country of her birth. In a headlong rush to return to her beloved San Francisco, Little will journey throughout Italy, hoping to find the answers she needs to move on with her life so she need never look back. She’ll enlist the help of the woman who raised her, Sira, her father’s sister; but Sira has secrets she’s kept for decades, and Little underestimates the power of the country she fled years before.
In this powerful story of mixed cultures in a world trying to globalize, one girl’s struggle to leave her home behind will lead her back to the women in her family and the memories each of them has safeguarded through the generations. From war-torn Italy to the belpaese of today, ALL THE WAY TO ITALY (AliRibelliEdizioni) is a tale for those in search of a balance between wanderlust and the necessity to come home, a reminder that although we may be fragments, we are never a lost cause.
Flavia took some time out to answer some of our questions:
If you could put yourself as a character in your book, who would you be?
I have to say Little, because a bit of her is the me from ten years ago, although as I wrote and the story developed, she became very much her own character.
Your book takes place in places throughout Italy. Any particular favorite city?
The book opens with a map of the places Little travels to during her journey throughout Italy. All of those hold very special places in my heart. But if I have to choose one, I think you know which one I have to go with! My city and the city of my family: Rome. No matter where I go, Rome is always in my heart, and it is the place I truly come home to.
What advice would you give budding writers?
I feel like I’m still very much a budding writer and therefore not yet worthy of this question! I know many writers who are struggling to finish their first book, or are feeling hopeless, or the editing is getting to them, and let me be the first to say that I very often am in that same place. But if there’s anything to remember, or at least what I tell myself, it’s: this is yours. Your writing is something wholly and completely an expression of yourself, and you deserve to see it through. It’s always worth it when you’re holding a finished manuscript, poem, or a completed thought in your hands. No matter what happens with it, you made something, and it’s real.
What makes your book different from all the other books about Italy?
Every book is different and worth reading, I think, and I’m honored to have All the Way to Italy stand among such wonderful other books about my country. In terms of what makes it different, I’d say it is a travel tale for the new generations—a love story to Italy and to cultures everywhere, a celebration not just of what has come before us, but of what is to come. The book uses the past and present to weave together the memories of the women in an Italian family, and with short, poignant stories throughout, highlights the beauty and struggle of a country and a people trying to globalize without losing what makes them unique. It ties together the bonds of a family and a nation, first generation immigrants to the second, third, fourth generations that come after. It takes a new look at
something we’ve all felt at some point.
I’m an espresso hunter. One of my favorite things to do in the world is walk through a new city, find a cozy chair in a coffee spot I’ve stumbled upon, whip out a book, and test out the espresso. I’m still looking for the perfect one, though several places have come close!
Meet the Author:
Born just outside of Rome, Flavia Brunetti grew up bouncing back and forth between Italy and California, eventually moving back to the Eternal City and confirming her lifelong commitment to real gelato. Flavia holds a Master of Arts degree in Government and Politics from St. John’s University and a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from John Cabot University. Today she travels the world working for an international humanitarian organization and spends her free time writing and wandering around her beloved Roma in constant search of bookstores and the perfect espresso. You can find her city blog on Rome at whichwaytorome.com and her portfolio of published writing at flaviinrome.com.
ALL THE WAY TO ITALY is available in bookstores and on-line now.