Independent Publisher Book Awards, bronze, stories
Debut-litzer Prize, finalist, from Late Night Library
Publication Date: December 1, 2012
The linked stories in Garbage Night at the Opera depict an extended Italian-American family living collectively in one apartment building in Brooklyn, New York, across decades as their neighborhood suddenly loses the factory jobs that support it, languishes for a generation, then gentrifies. Winner of the G. S. Sharat Chandra Prize for Short Fiction, selected by Jacquelyn Mitchard.
A native of New York City, Valerie Fioravanti now lives in Sacramento, California, where she directs the Stories on Stage reading series and teaches for the UCLA Writers Extension. She has held a Fulbright fellowship to Italy and holds degrees from New Mexico State University in Las Cruces, and the New School in New York City. Her work has appeared in such publications as North American Review, Cimarron Review, and Hunger Mountain. Garbage Night at the Opera, the title story of which received a special mention in Pushart Prize XXVIII, is her first book.
About the Book
Fioravanti achieves a kind of imaginary and structural miracle with Gebage Night: fourteen stories, each of which features a different protagonist and which collectively span several decades and every available narrative point of view, and yet all of which feel of a piece.
—John Vanderslice, Pleiades
Valerie Fioravanti’s Garbage Night at the Opera is among the most ccomplished and emotionally resonant story collections I have read in years. Deeply satisfying stories with a set of characters I feel like
I came to know as well as my own family.
—Peter Orner, Love and Shame and Love
Garbage Night at the Opera takes us deep into the heart of Greenpoint, the neighborhood I lived in for many years. Here, at
last, is the real Brooklyn: gritty, tender, workaday, brave. Fioravanti’s
characters are so vivid I felt as if I were watching them in real life. Her prose is unsentimental, intense, and enthralling.
—Kate Christensen, The Astral
In these linked stories, Valerie Fioravanti transports us squarely into the middle of the lives of Italian immigrants living in Brooklyn. With
unf linching and sparkling prose, she shows us the stuff these haracters are made of, a raw mixture of despair, humor, and above all, a fighting spirit and hope. Despite the curveballs poverty throws at
them, Fioravanti lets us know, with love woven into every word, that in the end, these characters will emerge stronger and still on their feet. Bravissimo!
—Naomi Benaron, Running the Rift
Love Letters from a Fat Man
These interrelated stories are a group of small, intense fires that
form a large-scale conf lagration. Fioravanti’s working-class characters
try to reverse the spell of hopelessness they have been cast under by family members or by lovers or by the broken promises of Brooklyn. Each brilliant page of Garbage Night at the Opera intimately places you inside the characters’ hearts and minds as they reckon with what cannot be salvaged—and what can.
—Kevin McIlvoy, The Complete History of New Mexico
and Other Stories, and Hyssop
With Garbage Night at the Opera, Valerie Fioravanti establishes herself
as a writer to watch. The stories are written with wit and style, and she manages—in story after story—to touch upon something profoundly human. This is a terrific book.
—Robert Boswell, The Heyday of the Insensitive Bastards
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