Italian Immigrants

Having Italian ancestry in my family, books regarding New York City and Italian immigrants are quite popular in my reading genres. I enjoy both the historical fiction books and the nonfiction books.

I finished reading a novel called Elizabeth Street, by Laurie Fabiano. The story line takes place during the first decade of the 20th century. The book depicts based on the author’s own Italian immigrant family. The pages are filled with the essence of the hardships of daily living and survival during a harsh time period. Fortitude, desire, and the will to assimilate and conquer the living conditions, crime and social inequalities forced upon Italian immigrants seem to be the basis for the book, along with prejudice of the Italians. I am fascinated with what I have read, so far.

I have read other books regarding Italian immigration, and New York City immigrants, in general. Each book has given me new snippets to ponder.

How the Other Half Lives, by Jacob Riis, is an extremely compelling book.

Vita: A Novel, by Melania G. Mazzucco, is another compelling read regarding the Italian immigrant experience.

Openwork: A Novel, by Adria Bernardi depicts three generations of Italian families, and their journey from Italy to New York City.

I also recommend The Shoemaker’s Wife, by Adriana Trigiani

I watched a show on PBS entitled The Italian Americans. It is a two-part four-hour series. It ended last night-February 24th. You can watch episodes online.


Filed under Fiction, Historical Fiction, Immigrant Experience, Lorri's Blog, Novels

9 responses to “Italian Immigrants

  1. Lorri, you must read CHRIST STOPPED AT EBOLI. You will never forget it.
    The location is southern Italy that even Christ never found. It is the poorest region in the entire country.

  2. I read that the PBS program was very good. Did you like it? I think the next one is about the Jewish immigrants to this country.
    Today in the library, I was looking for an Italian cookbook with easy and inspiring recipes.

  3. PS – We went to an Italian restaurant for my birthday last week. The food was wonderful.

  4. Thank you for all the recommendations. Speaking of restaurants, we went to an Indian restaurant for my birthday. We ate at the buffet – we had no idea what we were eating (other than I asked wish ones had dairy so I could avoid those). We also found that each dish was a little too hot for our American palates.

    I should really read the Jacob Riis book.

    • The Jacob Riis book is compelling on so many levels. His photographs are profound, and give much insight into the living conditions (not just Italians, but Jews, Eastern Europeans, Germans, Irish, etc.) of the time period.

      LOL, on the restaurant. I totally understand, and have found myself with heightened palate issues after eating Indian food. Good-yes-but the after-effects-not so good.

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