Adriana Trigiani captures the exhilarating and robust essence of an Italian American family in this story. Stirred into the epic plotline is the heart and soul of the large cast of realistic characters, colorful details of the golden age of TV and theater and a family feud. The elements of love, loyalty, secrets and forgiveness are infused into the very backbone of this novel. A consummate storyteller, Trigiani tells a tale that is so very real, readers will feel as if they are a part of this fascinating family.
The novel begins in South Philadelphia in 1949, an area bursting with opportunity during the post-war boom. The Palazzini Cab Company and Western Union Telegraph Office, owned and operated by Dominic Palazzini and his three sons are thriving. Business is good and the men are surrounded by sympathetic wives and daughters-in-law, with grandchildren on the way. But a decades-long feud that split Dominic and his brother Mike and their once-close families sets the stage for a re-match.
Their world is shaken when an urgent telegram arrives near dawn and Dominic’s nephew Nick is sent in one of the company cabs to the small town of Roseto to deliver the news. On the drive, Nick realizes he doesn’t want to drive a cab his whole life or marry the woman to whom he is intended. He wants more and he believes he has found it in the Borelli Theater. He moonlights at the theater as a prompter and anything else that is needed. One fateful night, however, two leads of Twelfth Night are called away, leaving Nick and Calla Borelli to take the stage for Sebastian and Olivia’s marriage scene and chemistry ignites. The intrigue mounts as Calla dreams of being a director and Nick has shown that he has the raw acting talent to help her realize her dream. Nick must choose between the conventional life his family expects of him or chart a new course and risk losing everything he cherishes. What transpires is a Shakespearesque dilemma pitting lovers against families. The pitfalls, the mistakes and the lessons learned create a compelling novel, rich in detail and character development.
Trigiani uses many motifs of the Bard’s plays – orphans, star-crossed lovers, family feuds and mistaken identities, while the Borelli Theater stands at the center of the action. She has crafted a world of warm, lively characters whose charming idiosyncrasies lead them to collide and ricochet along the way to love. The delightfully sprawling comedy is filled with extended families, with all of their attendant cocooning warmth and suffocating expectations in this epic novel of love, loyalty and creativity. It is the story of an Italian American family on the cusp of change.
Trigiani’s consummate storytelling skill and her trademark wit, along with a dazzling cast of characters will enthrall readers. Once again, the author has returned to her own family garden to create an unforgettable feast. Kiss Carlo is a jubilee, resplendent with hope, love and the abiding power of la famiglia.
Adriana Trigiani is the New York Times bestselling author of seventeen books in fiction and nonfiction. She is published in 35 countries around the world. Adriana is also a playwright, television writer/producer and filmmaker and the award-winning director of the documentary film, ‘Queens of the Big Time.’ She wrote and directed the major motion picture Big Stone Gap, filmed entirely in her Virginia hometown. She lives in New York City with her family and their rescue pets.