Results of the Governor General's Literary Award in the year 1990.
Set in the Valle del Sole, a village nestled in the folds of the Italian Apennines, Lives of the Saints tells the story of young Vittorio Innocente, and his mother, Cristina, whose affair with a blue-eyed stranger abruptly shatters the innocence of Vittorio’s childhood. As he tries to piece together the truth of his mother’s crime, we discover through Vittorio’s eyes the underside of Valle del Sole’s pastoral calm, the age-old superstitions and fears, vestiges of a pagan past, beneath the villagers’ veneer of Catholicism, and the hypocrisy and malice beneath their self-rightousness.
Sometimes funny, sometimes scandalous, always compelling, this extraordinary first novel chronicles the women of the Wong family from frontier railroad camps to modern-day Vancouver. As past sins and inborn strengths are passed on from mother to daughter to granddaughter, each generation confronts, in its own way, the same problems—isolation, racism, and the clash of cultures. Moving effortlessly between past and present, between North America and China, Sky Lee weaves fiction and historical fact into a memorable and moving picture of a people’s struggle for identity.
The ten miraculously accomplished stories in Alice Munro’s Friend of My Youth not only astonish and delight but also convey the unspoken mysteries at the heart of all human experience.