This is one of the most beautiful Italian American books that I have seen. It tells its story in 32 letters (presented in the original Italian with translation on facing pages) by two young Italian lovers, separated by an ocean, trying to forge a lasting union. The book also has a brief, charming historical introduction, as well as an afterword. With its glossy paper, the author's striking collages, its photographs of the people involved, and the documents needed to emigrate with their muted tones, the book presents a unique tale of two people in all their complexity. Despite their limited education, Pia and Angiolino write sophisticated letters in their graceful Italian script. Their words uncover the psychological aspects not only of their own personalities but also of all the pressures connected with emigration.

The time is the last two months of 1919 to October 12, 1920. Angiolino, now 28, has...

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