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Excerpts

A River of Oranges

A River of Oranges

Fiume has a unique place in the history of Europe, and Italy in particular. The official language of Fiume was Italian until it was ceded to Yugoslavia in 1947; but the majority of the population has Slavic roots, predominantly Croatian and Slovenian. Before I began this book, I thought of myself as Italian but through my research I discovered that…

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Claudia

Claudia

Honour met no other cars on the narrow mountain road, and the few isolated houses she passed looked deserted. Had she gone too far, or not far enough? She should have asked for the exact distance to the turn off. There were no signposts, no addresses. She drove up the mount, across a seemingly uninhabited ridge, and down the other…

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Beached

Beached

Panic never leaves her. It only recedes for intervals, like the tide in Bahía de Navidad. For days, the ocean can lap in benign ripples on the sand, then suddenly rise in swirling breakers that smash to shore, shaking the hotel in its foundation. Monica lies in the penthouse bedroom facing the ocean, trying to make herself get up. It’s a…

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The Invisible Italian-American Prize Fighters

The Invisible Italian-American Prize Fighters

To the untrained eye, it seemed that prior to the 1920s there were few noteworthy American boxers of Italian origin – and a limited presence in the decades that followed. But behind many Irish boxing names, there frequently stood an olive-skinned, dark-haired fighter with a hidden identity. More than one thousand Italian professional boxers went by Irish pseudonyms. Italian immigrants entered boxing…

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Return

Return

I used to stand at railway tracks, my toes against the ties, while trains approached. I held my breath as they lumbered past, tuned to the whine of metal on metal, their weight a tornado in my chest, their speed reverberating in my heart. “You are crazy,” my brother told me years later. “Don’t you realize how lucky you are…

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