Giovanna's 86 Circles: And Other Stories

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Terrace Books, Sep 26, 2005 - Fiction - 150 pages
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These ten magical stories are primarily set in Pittsburgh-area river towns, where Italian American women and girls draw from their culture and folklore to bring life and a sense of wonder to a seemingly barren region of the Rust Belt. Each story catapults the ordinary into something original and unpredictable.
A skeptical journalist scopes out the bar where the town mayor, in seemingly perfect health, is drinking with his buddies and celebrating what he claims is the last day of his life. A woman donates her dead mother’s clothes to a thrift shop but learns that their destiny is not what she expected. A ten-year-old girl wrestles with the facts of life as she watches her neighbor struggle to get pregnant while her teenage sister finds it all too easy. A high school girl hallucinates in a steamy hospital laundry room and discovers she can see her coworkers’ futures. A developer’s wrecking ball is no match for the legend of Giovanna’s green thumb in the title story “Giovanna’s 86 Circles.”
Quirky and profound, Corso’s magical leaps uncover the everyday poetry of these women’s lives.

Finalist for the John Gardner Fiction Book Award

Selected for “Best Short Stories of 2005” in Montserrat Review

Best Books for Regional Special Interests, selected by the American Association of School Librarians, and Best Books for General Audiences, selected by the Public Library Association

Sons of Italy National Book Club Selection


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Giovanna's 86 circles: and other stories

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The title story of this compact collection ends with the fourth-grade narrator finding an "earthquake"-sized epiphany in a classmate's kiss ("The answer was smack in middle of Giovanna's eighty-sixth ... Read full review


Yesterdays News
Between the Sheets
Nose Dive
Giovannas 86 Circles
The Drying Corner
Raw Egg in Beer
Shelf Life
Freezer Burn
Roman Arches

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About the author (2005)

Paola Corso is the recipient of the 2000 Sherwood Anderson Fiction Prize and was nominated for a Pushcart Press Editors’ Book Award. She is a New York Foundation for the Arts poetry fellow and author of a book of poems Death by Renaissance. A native of the Pittsburgh area, she now lives in Brooklyn and teaches fiction in New York City.

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