The Saint of Lost Things

The Saint of Lost Things

by Christopher Castellani


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It is 1953 in the tight-knit Italian neighborhood in Wilmington, Delaware. Maddalena Grasso has lost her country, her family, and the man she loved by coming to America; her mercurial husband, Antonio, has lost his opportunity to realize the American Dream; their new friend, Guilio Fabbri, a shy accordion player, has lost his beloved parents.

In the shadow of St. Anthony’s Church, named for the patron saint of lost things, the prayers of these troubled but determined people are heard, and fate and circumstances conspire to answer them in unforeseeable ways.

With great authenticity and immediacy, The Saint of Lost Things evokes a bittersweet time in which the world seemed more intimate and knowable, and the American Dream simpler, nobler, and within reach.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781616207779
Publisher: Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill
Publication date: 09/30/2005
Pages: 332
Sales rank: 685,430
Product dimensions: 5.50(w) x 8.50(h) x 0.69(d)
Age Range: 18 Years

About the Author

Christopher Castellani has published two previous novels with Algonquin—A Kiss from Maddalena, which won the Massachusetts Books Award for Fiction; and The Saint of Lost Things. He lives in Arlington, Massachusetts, where he is the artistic director of Grub Street, the Boston-based non-profit creative writing center. Author website: www.christopher


Arlington, Massachusetts

Date of Birth:

December 7, 1972

Place of Birth:

Wilmington, Delaware


B.A., Swarthmore College, 1994; M.A./A.B.D., Tufts University, 1998; M.A., Boston University, 1999

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"A natural storyteller, warm-hearted and instinctual, Christopher Castellani has fashioned an engaging plot with writing that is dead-on and characters who reward you with their genuine humanity."
—Julia Alvarez. author of In the Time of Butterflies

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The Saint of Lost Things 4.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 6 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I love a family saga novel so this was a perfect read for me. There was a story line that ran through that left you feeling incomplete, wondering why it was in the story. All Niall I would definitely recommend it if you love family sagas!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Guest More than 1 year ago
Here is a wonderfully written story of Italian immigrants living in Wilmington, Delaware. Maddalena was very young when Antonio Grasso came to her village and arranged marriage with her father. She loves Antonio but misses her family and friends and just about everything about her Italian village. She becomes pregnant which changes some of their feelings for each other and then calamity strikes which ultimately brings everyone together knowing that family and friends are everything. There are other well-drawn characters including Antonio¿s brother Mario, who has had many failed and one successful business, their friend Renato who owns a bar where Antonio and his friends congregate and talk about their many problems. Guiilio Fabbri a shy accordion player who lives alone still missing his parents intently. This is a great living and breathing story with characters that will stay with you for a long while. A great book club book with lots of situations to talk about. It will tug at your heartstrings and is rendered in a very believable style. So much to like about this book you will want to pass it on to your friends.
Guest More than 1 year ago
In 2003, author Christopher Castellani introduced readers to a young woman named Maddalena Piccinelli who lived in a small Italian village Santa Cecilia. We were also introduced to Vito Leone, the young man who loved her and hoped to be her husband, and we also met Antonio Grasso, a villager who moved to America as a child but returned to Santa Cecilia to find a wife. Readers cringed at the thought that Antonio would take her hand when she loved Vito and Vito loved her, but at a different time and age, the wishes of Maddalena¿s parents would be final and Vito and Maddalena as a couple would never be. Readers hated Antonio (or at least felt a strong dislike toward him), felt sorry for poor Vito, and wondered what would happen to Maddalena. In the fall of 2005, Castellani answered our questions in the sequel THE SAINT OF LOST THINGS. All of the strengths of A KISS FROM MADDALENA can be found in THE SAINT OF LOST THINGS. The writing has a poetic quality to it. Castellani¿s word choices are precise and conjure up wonderful images. The attention to historical detail is impeccable. Just as the village of Santa Cecilia in World War II seemed believable to readers, so too does the 1950¿s Italian section of the city of Wilmington, Delaware, centered around the parish of St. Anthony. The dreams of the people, the closeness of the neighborhood, the racial tensions, the rivalry between immigrant groups, and the overall closeness of the neighborhood all seem accurate and create the setting in which the story takes place. So what has happened to Maddalena? She¿s married to Antonio but is she happy? Does Vito come to rescue her? The book jacket¿s summary gives the reader a hint that after seven years of marriage, Maddalena has done her best to adjust to her new life. Readers of A KISS FROM MADDALENA know just how much she has sacrificed in her short lifetime, but even those who have not read the first book will be empathetic toward her as she misses her past but seems committed to make the best of her new life. Readers of A KISS may not have a soft spot for Antonio but in THE SAINT OF LOST THINGS will discover he¿s basically a good guy and a rather complex person. He wants what is best for his family, is a tireless worker, and puts his own dreams on hold believing the needs of his family always take precedence over his own. His flaws and faults may be many, but we grow to like him. A third character named Gullio Fabbri is introduced in THE SAINT OF LOST THINGS. He¿s a lonely bachelor who wants to begin a new life after his parents die, but he seems to lack the gumption and ambition necessary to do much more than change his name to Julian. The story itself revolves around the ups and downs of the three main characters, the joys and stress of the birth of a child, and beginning to take chances that life worthwhile. Castellani could have taken his work in a number of directions, many of which would have been predictable and cliché. Instead he chooses to give us an authentic peak inside an Italian-American family, portraying the hopes and dreams in a realistic manner, and shows us that there¿s a compelling story in the people we may take for granted. My guess is that anyone who is familiar with the American immigrant experience will find their own family in this book, regardless of nationality. At the end of A KISS FROM MADDALENA readers wanted to know more. The book ended but the story didn¿t. In the same way THE SAINT OF LOST THINGS comes to an end, but the story does not, but there¿s nothing to worry about. The second in a trilogy so we¿ll just have to anxiously await the third installment to see what will happen to Maddalena and Antonio and their new family.