A rags to riches novel but also a paean to Italian family values. The story follows the family from rural poverty in the 1890s to prosperity in the 1950s. Teeming with interesting characters; mostly women. Men don't play a significant role in the family. A little tricky at times as many of the family had the same christian name and nicknames - but beautifully written and translated from the Italian.
She stares at the people down on the quay at Genoa. Little dark faceless shifting specks, rolling around each other. She feels a sort of pins and needles in the nape of her neck, as you do when someone you're very much expecting is about to arrive. Where is her mother? She closes her eyes: when she opens them, her mother will be in the exact spot where she is looking. But when she opens them again the only thing occupying that exact spot is an empty cart, pulled by a mule which is tossing its head.