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loved it living in an Italo australian family, I saw many similarities. If the author had stopped after the first part on Umbertina, I would have given it 4 stars She was a far superior character over those to follow in the book It could have also been the time period of 1860 to 1940 which i found far interesting than the later time periods.The other two parts of the book , I would give only one star I will avoid this author in the future. @Free Epub ⚶ Umbertina ß Publishers Weekly Calls Helen Barolini S Now Classic Novel Of Immigration An Ambitious Saga Which Spans The History And Probes Some Of The Tensions Of The Italian American Panoramic, Descriptive And Solidly Crafted When The Book Was First Published In , The Philadelphia Inquirer Called It An Important Novel For These Times Through A Dazzling Interplay Of American And Italian Characters In Both Countries, Helen Barolini Delineates The Major Concerns Of All Thinking American Ethnics This Is No Less True Today, As This Republication Restores Umbertina To A Reading Public Newly Attuned To The Complexities Of Cultural Inheritance And IdentityThis Multigenerational Novel Begins In Calabria, As Umbertina Persuades Her Husband To Emigrate Through Years Of Struggle On New York City S Lower East Side And In A Growing Upstate New York Town, It Is Umbertina S Determination, Ingenuity, And Business Sense That Propel The Family Into Financial Success And Security Leaving Her Daughters And Granddaughters To Sort Out Their Identities As Italian Americans And As Women I m giving this four stars largely on the basis of Part 1, which tells the story of Umbertina, a goat girl in southern Italy who emigrates to the U S and manages to lift herself and her family out of poverty I ve been craving something like this and I didn t even know it My own great grandmother came from a tiny mountain village in southern Italy It s interesting to compare the similarities and differences between Umbertina s journey and what little I know about my ancestor s Barolini articulates feelings I didn t know I had, too about those hordes of mysterious, faceless ancestors about not being Italian and not being a Wasp and about who s entitled to be creative That last theme made me think of Meg Wolitzer in The Interestings and Jamaica Kincaid s See Now Then As far as I know, Barolini is the first to write anything like this from the POV of an Italian American woman It s a groundbreaking book.But I have to be honest Parts 2 and 3 are a slog Peppered with good details and insights, but way too long and rambling Rich, pretty women jetting around the world, endlessly analyzing their feelings and searching for personal fulfillment And they re snobs, too The feminism here is that 1970 s, upper middle class, educated yet slightly oblivious kind In one scene, Tina mentions that her mother has a part time maid, and in the same breath describes her life as an American in Italy as the worst of both worlds I guess it s the peasant in me, but I prefer Umbertina. Leggere Umbertina pu essere assai difficile Non tanto per i contenuti o lo stile ma per mere ragioni pratiche Si tratta di un romanzo con una storia editoriale piuttosto travagliata, con poche edizioni presto scomparse dagli scaffali nonostante sia sempre citato, al fianco de Il Padrino di Puzo, come uno dei punti cardine dell epica scritta dagli italoamericani nella seconda met del Novecento.La prima edizione di Umbertina del 1979 ma anche negli Stati Uniti stato necessario attendere il 1999 per averne una seconda La prima traduzione italiana comparsa nel 2001 per Avagliano Editore e attualmente fuori catalogo Per leggere questo libro, dunque, bisogna armarsi di una certa pazienza e sperare in una biblioteca ben fornita che lo abbia disponibile al prestito o in bancarelle particolarmente ben fornite del mercato dell usato.Ne vale la pena Decisamente s.Continua suhttp www.lastambergadeilettori.com This book is a worthwhile read for anyone who is interested in how descendants of Italian immigrants try to connect with their h ritage in order to better understand who they are Umbertina ,already married with children, emigrated to New York from Calabria in the 19th century She and her husband built a successful family business in upstate New York for their children to inherit Her grand child, Margherita, many years later, tries to learn about Umbertina s life as a way of sorting out her restlessness in a marriage to an Italian poet and revolving her personal unhappines in Venice through divorce Margherite s struggle for identity propels the action of the book from her psychiatrist s couch in Venice where she describes her internal conflicts about responsibilities as student,mother,wife , and part time translator and her own identity She looks backward to Umbertina s past as a girl in Castagno, Calabria, then to New York as an immigrant in the early 1900s as a key to finding self The best part of the book describes Umbertina s journey from Calabria to New York City and then upstate New York where the grit, determination, and sacrifice of Umbertina provide her descendants in a new country with a better life The publication of this book in the 70s probably resonated with women who like Marguerite exposed to the struggle of the female lib ration movement, were questioning the social pressures of marriage and child bearing over professional careers, which were cultural expectations implicit in her own family background Marguerite s consciousness about choosing between family or career were not part of the vocabulary of Umbertina s path to self relization Umbertina accepted that her contributions to the family s success would be recognized as her husband s She knew that she was the driving force that managed her children and the family business, and unlike Marguerite , Umbertina saw her contributions at home as markers of her self identity. This is a beautifully written family saga about four generations of women, with the matriarch of the family emigrating to the United States from Calabria near the turn of the twentieth century Umbertina, the first generation of women, was about the same age as my Sicilian grandmother, so I could really relate to this story The themes of assimilation, ethnic identity, and gender roles are ever present I admired Barolini s strong and tenacious women in this story Her descriptions of Rome brought back good memories of a recent trip.To me this book was reminiscent of Gay Talese s book, Unto the Sons, but with emphasis on the female members of the family This is classic literature about the Italian American immigration experience, but would be of interest to all who enjoy reading about the theme of ethnic identity. Umbertina isn t a book I can review or read without nostalgia and grief intermingling with my love of the novel I read it in high school and it is about generations of Italian and then Italian American women and their maternal relationships As I read my recently deceased mother s copy, it was disintegrating in my hands, but felt like my own literary pilgrimage back through our relationship too I ll now lock it away in a protected box for another 25 years till I m ready to revisit it again. I read this book because the author is from Utica, New York, and is a historical novel set in Utica and based upon the life of her grandmother I didn t know until I read this that most of the Italians who settled in Utica in the 19th century came from the region of southern Italy known as Calabria The novel demonstrated how their origins in a rural, hilly area affected their behavior and outlook when they arrived in Utica The story was divided into three parts The first, and most interesting part, described Umbertina s life in Calabria, and how she came to America, arriving first in New York City, and eventually migrating to Utica The descriptions of life in Utica back then, and how the Italians changed and culturally enriched the community despite some prejudice against them, was vivid and fascinating The second part described the life of Umbertina s granddaughter Marguerite, as she copes with being a second generation Italian American in changing times, and the third part tells the story of Marguerite s daughter Tina, who discovers what her Italian heritage means to her.The reason I gave this book 3 stars actually 3 1 2 is because, while I thoroughly enjoyed part one, I didn t particularly like parts two and three Not only were the characters not as interesting, but the latter two parts were written in a distinctly different style from that of part one This was deliberately done by the author, who wanted to distance Umbertina s story from the stories of Marguerite and Tina Unfortunately, it made it feel like you were reading an entirely different book, which I found jarring So I highly recommend part one, Umbertina s story it s well worth the effort, whether you re of Italian descent or not. This is one of my favorite books of all time I read it while I was taking an Italian American Culture Class at good, old PSU It s the story of 3 generations of Italian American women Very interesting