A Novel of World War II
216 pages, 6.00 x 9.00
Paperback | 9780268043681 | March 2007
A recipient of the American Academy of Arts and Letters/Katherine Anne Porter Award for fiction in 2006, Arturo Vivante has been an acclaimed and beloved storyteller for over fifty years. Seventy of his short stories have appeared in The New Yorker. In his third and newest novel, Truelove Knot, he artfully orchestrates a tale of first love during World War II.
With that auspicious entrance into the world, Fabio Diodati begins an idyllic childhood and boyhood first in Rome and Siena, then in England where his family went as refugees in 1938. In late adolescence, Fabio is away from home in a boarding school in Wales when Italy enters the war. Being Italian, Fabio is interned and sent to Canada. Months elapse with Fabio behind barbed wire in a camp on an island in the St. Lawrence River, in sight of Montreal. Then, in the midst of a snow storm in 1941, the seventeen-year-old escapes to Montreal where, in the space of little more than a day, he finds freedom, first love, and goes out to meet his fate at sea.
Readers familiar with Vivante’s short stories will recognize his gentle touch and limpid description. Artfully, he orchestrates characters’ lives so that they encounter, as we all do, forces beyond their control. Yet lives that could seem bleak and insignificant are tempered by Vivante with small but important acts of kindness, courage, and love. The rich world he creates—one peopled by characters yearning for lives not lived and chances not taken—is a pleasure to enter and savor.
Arturo Vivante grew up in Italy, England, and Canada. He left a medical practice in the mid-1950s when his short stories began to be published. He has published two novels, five short-story collections, essays, translations, plays, and a book of poetry. His Solitude and Other Stories (University of Notre Dame Press, 2004) won the Richard Sullivan Prize in Short Fiction. He lives in Cape Cod, Massachusetts.
"Poignant reflections on finding hope in small freedoms, and in poetry, help make the latest from Vivante (Solitude & Other Stories) quietly convincing." —Publishers Weekly
"Truelove Knot reflects the year he spent in an internment camp in Canada, considered an enemy alien from Italy despite his father's Jewish heritage and his family's anti-Fascist leanings." —New York Times
“Vivante's descriptions are rich and evocative. He brings the internment camp on St. Helen's Island-a reference to an actual and generally overlooked episode in Canadian history-to life. After Fabio escapes and, later, joins the merchant marine, Vivante's portrayal of life at sea is equally effective. And yet, somehow, this novel works. Vivante cares about his characters, and he makes us care about them too.” —The Gazette, Montreal
“This fine writer has published 'a novel of World War II' that is also a love story. It is the story of Fabio, who is caught up in the war in Italy and must make a daring escape away from conflict and toward freedom.” —Sunday Cape Cod Times
“Arturo Vivante's gifts as a writer—his gentle insight, his deep and passionate appreciation of the human drama, are thrillingly present in Truelove Knot. Here is a story of war in all its dangers, of young love in all its trust and hope: ‘new, naked, like the world at the beginning.’ Young Fabio's escape to freedom ranks with the greatest of suspense stories and wisdom illuminates every page.” —Merrill Joan Gerber, author of Glimmering Girls: A Novel of the Fifties and This is a Voice from Your Past
“Arturo Vivante is a present past master of the lyric line, a poet of romantic possibility. And in this gripping tale of love at first sight in wartime, he writes with force and grace. The young couple, their friends and families, the Atlantic Ocean that divides them, the war itself—all these are vividly described.” —Nicholas Delbanco, author of Spring and Fall and What Remains
Truelove Knot is a vivid record of a part of WWII which has rarely been documented. It's a novel of suspense and surprises, but it is also a hauntingly beautiful tribute to the enduring power of love." —Corinne Demas, author of What We Save For Last and Eleven Stories High: Growing Up In Stuyvesant Town, 1948-1968