Press kit for Giovanna's 86 Circles And Other Stories

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Giovanna's 86 Circles
And Other Stories
Paola Corso
Library of American Fiction, Terrace Books
Publication date: September 2005
LC: 2005005437 PS
144 pp. 5 x 8 1/2
ISBN 0-299-21280-7 Cloth $21.95


Nominated for a Pushcart Press Editors' Book Award

A Sons of Italy National Book Club Selection

Best Short Stories of 2005 by Grace Cavalieri in the Montserrat Review

On's Recommended List of Short Stories for Rushed Readers


"Corso's stories reflect her coming of age in an ethnic Italian Pittsburgh area neighborhood. Quirky characters appear from the sensitive thrift store clerk, Topaz, who keeps a woman's dead mother's clothing in case she returns for them, to the title character's talent for growing plants with her tears. Beautifully written, strong female characters, and adolescent themes will attract good readers to this little gem of a book." —Pennsylvania School Library Association Young Adult Top Forty List

"Giovanna's 86 Circles is powerful in the moment thanks to the imagery's dream-like density. Corso's prose is memorable and entrancing."
Publishers Weekly

"With Giovanna's 86 Circles, Corso joins a fine cast of American women authors of imaginative writing." —MARGIN: Exploring Modern Magical Realism

"Accessible, big-hearted fiction. Corso has, as has been written of Bruce Springsteen, 'a Catholic imagination.' Like Springsteen, too, she tends toward the apotheosis of everyday people struggling with faith of some species." —The City Paper

"With her swift and gritty sentences, Corso conjures a world where houses were painted gray since the mill soot would turn them that color anyway, where Jell-O and pineapple salad stood for dessert. It was a humble if pinched society, down on its luck but at least rich in tradition. Corso honors that fact here, and then some." —Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

"Corso's strong ethnic narratives are reminiscent of those by Toni Morrison. Readers should hope she'll continue to delight us with stories of our region."—Pittsburgh Magazine

"Corso mixes myth and reality, fable and grit to illustrate the beauty, power, and necessity of storytelling. A major contribution to female Italian-American literature."—Rita Ciresi, author of Mother Rocket and Blue Italian

"Paola Corso knows the secret to surviving in every small fading Western Pa. town: a mix of quiet courage and a wild imagination. Generation to generation, the women of Giovanna's 86 Circles somehow find the power to redeem the everyday." —Stewart O'Nan, The Good Wife

"Giovanna's 86 Circles is an appealing gathering of short fiction at a time when American culture is changing radically. Corso's characters are Old World people vulnerable to the assault of contemporary capitalism, but dreaminess relieves the stresses of their lives. Her prose is inviting in its clarity and music as she creates a world that is at once familiar and strange. Corso's debut collection is at the same level of literary achievement as Jhumpa Lahiri's Interpreter of Maladies and Junot Diaz's Drown."—David Huddle, author of The Story of a Million Years

Author's Bio:

Paola Corso's Giovanna's 86 Circles was nominated for a Pushcart Press Editors' Book Award and is a Sons of Italy National Book Club selection. Publisher's Weekly called her prose "memorable and entrancing" and "powerful in the moment." The book was also selected as the Best Short Stories of 2005 in the Montserrat Review and is on's Recommended List of Short Stories for Rushed Readers. Corso is a Sherwood Anderson Fiction Award winner, New York Foundation for the Arts poetry fellow, and author of a book of poems Death by Renaissance set in her native Pittsburgh where her Italian immigrant grandfather and father worked in the steel mill. Pittsburgh Magazine called her "an Italian John Wideman" and Indiana Review said "few books address the anxiety of moving between classes and assimilation of second-generation immigrants with such urgency and poetic capability as Paola Corso's." She currently teaches fiction writing at Fordham University and in the MFA program at Western Conn. State University. Contact her at

For more information in addition to this press kit contact our publicity manager, phone: (608) 263-0734, email:

[Return to the book page for Giovanna's 86 Circles.]

Cover image:

cover of Corso's book in a blend of green and gold with an illustration of a basket of flowers featured

This cover image can be downloaded and used in any web-based publicity for this book. For a 300 dpi version, click here.

Author Photo

the author, Paola Corso, leans against a brick wall, she is wearing a light colored béret.









This image can be downloaded and used in any web-based publicity for this book. For a 300 dpi version, click here.


the Terrace Books logo is designed in the shape of a book with a Union chair in silhouette on the cover. The words Terrace Books, Madison, Wisconsin appear also.

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