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In the seaside village of San Benedetto, a resort town on the Italian Riviera, twenty-twoyear- old Etto finds himself adrift. Within the past year, Etto has not only lost both his twin brother and his mother, but in his grief has become estranged from his father, the local butcher. While his father passes the time with the men of the town in the fine tradition of Italian men everywhere--a reverential obsession with soccer--Etto retreats ever further from his day-to-day life, seeking solace in the hills above the town.
But then a Ukrainian soccer star, the great Yuri Fil, sweeps into San Benedetto, taking refuge himself from an international scandal. Soon Yuri and his captivating tomboy sister Zhuki invite Etto into their world of sport, celebrity, loyalty, and humor. Under their influence, Etto begins to reconstruct his relationship with his father and, slowly, open himself back up to the world. Who knows: perhaps the game of soccer isn't just a waste of time, and perhaps San Benedetto, his father, love, and life itself might have more to offer him than he ever believed possible.
"The Sun and Other Stars" is a gorgeous, celebratory tale about families, compromise, and community, and about how losses can be transformed into hope. Irresistible and unforgettable, it is a shimmering miracle of a book.
Publishers Weekly® Reviews
- Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page .
- Review Date: 2013-11-25
- Reviewer: Staff
What do you do if everyone in your little town is obsessed with soccer, and you couldn’t care less? If all the guys your age are out chasing girls, and you’re hopelessly socially awkward? And if those are just the irritations atop the real injuries—your soccer-star twin brother died in a car crash, your mother killed herself afterward, and you and your father work together in the family butcher shop but never talk? The torments to which Pasulka subjects Etto, the 22-year-old protagonist of her second novel (after A Long, Long Time Ago and Essentially True), occur in San Benedetto, a beautiful tourist town on the Italian Riviera; it’s close-knit but suffocating, and Etto wants to leave, but is afraid to. And then a stranger comes to town, his father’s favorite soccer player, scandal-clouded Ukrainian Yuri Fil, whose entourage includes his equally soccer-mad and -skilled sister, Zhuki. The resulting complications could easily have been cloyingly “heartwarming,” but Pasulka avoids cliché with some lovely writing (Etto, falling for Zhuki, decides her name sounds like “the waves foaming up on the beach in the winter”), well-placed low humor, and specificity of place. Readers will be crossing their fingers for Etto to find some well-deserved happiness. Agent: Wendy Sherman, Wendy Sherman Associates. (Feb.)