Safe In Your Head
He was the manager of a steel mill, a welterweight champion, a father, a loyal brother and a friend to many, but when Fascism took over Italy and his family became the target of persecution, Giorgio joined the Resistance.
His life is obfuscated by the fog of family mythologies, but his death reverberates nonetheless through the lives of three generation of women: his wife, who is left to raise a teenager alone, juggling her grief with her responsibilities of motherhood, finding comfort only in faith and magic; his daughter, raised against the impossibly rigid standards erected by a conservative society, a fatherless girl desiring only a sense of safety and willing to leave behind everything she knows and loves to obtain it; and his granddaughter, whose adolescence is disrupted by Italy’s 1970’s homegrown terrorism.
All three women’s lives break and foam like waves against the shores of America, discovering that war has a long reach, its poison seeping through the sands of time and disfiguring with emotional scars even the most modest of ambitions. Yet with love, loyalty, and with faith in a magical world, they honor the memories of their dear ones by standing strong and carving out a home from hope in a brighter future.
Advanced Praise for Safe In Your Head
“Valeri has created a deft and delicate collection of short stories, illustrating how the ramifications of an Italian man’s political decision at the outbreak of World War II rippled down the generations of his family. Valeri is an artist of prose. Like most retelling of family stories, her tales weave forward and backward in time, shaping characters who are desperate to raise above their circumstance, but incapable of escaping their history.
Her words can be dreamy and sentimental as memory and other times hard and relentless as a newspaper account. On her whole, her collection illustrates that history is a mystery. All we can do is work with the fragments of stories passed down and probe our own psychological wounds to learn what happened in the mind of an Italian soldier eighty years before.” Susanna Ives
“Laura Valeri’s prose is so intimate, so full-hearted, that it’s as if she’s whispering in the reader’s ear, telling a story full of history and family and love. Most remarkably, the story told is breathless in pace and epic in scope, and at the same time stays faithful to the beating hearts of the characters.” Susanna Daniels
“Laura Valeri unfolds before us what one family brings from Italy: their recipes, spells, and, most of all, the pungent, passionate stories that will haunt what they find in America. Individually enchanting, these tales entwine into a novel in which conflicting desires for justice, opportunity, safety, and love twist through time like fate, like DNA.” Lynne Barrett
“Readers will fall in love with her charming Italian and Italian-American characters whose lives, like our own, contain hope, longing, and just enough magic to to propel them ever forward, ever glancing back.” Maryanne Sthal
A Stephen F. Austin University Press Publication
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