All My Fallen Angelas is a collection of stories inspired by the lives of Italian-Canadian women living in Toronto from the 1960s to the present. The stories document their strength and resilience, their power and vulnerability as the women move in community that allowed their presence in shops, factories, and churches, but offered them little else for entertainment and self-exploration outside of their families. The stories cover a wide range of women's experiences from loneliness; disappointment; mothering; marriages, arranged and not arranged, that were loving, simply stable, or violent. As a whole, the book provides the reader with a sense of Toronto's Italian immigrant community in its urban landscape, housing, social life, work and education options. The stories are the work of a raconteur who has been listening carefully to a wide range of women who shared their feelings in the kitchens and basements of their lives when the men were not around, when they were asleep or otherwise occupied. Each story ends on an ambiguous or poignant note that invokes the reader's imagination. These stories are not simply accounts of women's lives. They are literature: often humourous, sometimes tragic, and eternally human.
"These beautifully told stories of the lives and loves of immigrant girls and women will charm you and chill you and break your heart. Above all they will hold you, from the first page to the last."
-- Nino Ricci, author of the award-winning novel The Origin of Species and of the Lives of the Saints trilogy
"All My Fallen Angelas is a symphony of female voices of all ages, weaving an intricate web of stories around Canadian girls and women of Italian origin living in Toronto. The narrative I, belonging to different characters, explores a memory, a moment of revelation, a traumatic event. Gianna Patriarca's short stories are threads of a larger texture, probing, with subtlety and irony, the nuances and the intricacies of the mind of women who bear in their very names their family history."
-- Oriana Palusci, University of Naples, Orientale
"In her new book, All My Fallen Angelas, Gianna Patriarca offers stories elaborating authentic portraits of characters in Toronto's Italian community. She dips into her memories of growing up in Toronto to offer living photographs seen through the lens of deep compassion. The experiences of ordinary immigrant Italian characters, whose lives are largely underrepresented in Canadian literature, come alive and are told with attentive humour and grace. Patriarca's stories reclaim the drama of lives, voices, and events from the anonymity of history. All My Fallen Angelas is a timely collection of stories of a community known largely through stereotypes."
-- Isabella Colalillo Katz, author of Marlene Dietrich's Eyes
"Gianna Patriarca infuses her prose with masterful strokes of poetic prowess. Her short stories are amazing, powerful, often cool and so very important. She gives voice to the silent and overlooked narrative of the women in our community who have sacrificed and lived so much for their families and also for themselves. The book, however, goes far beyond the stereotypical nonna-in-a-black-dress archetype and finally brings life to the rich, colourful, and complex lives of women who have been overshadowed by stories of romanticized male-dominated mafia melodrama and mayhem."
-- Domenico Capilongo, author of Subtitles and Other Stories
"Gianna Patriarca's latest book of stories captures the tension and liability of being an Italian/immigrant woman. Through well-crafted and engaging stories, she weaves passion and melancholy into the lives of women caught in that liminal space between the old world values and the new Anglo mores, metaphorically captured as the characters gaze out their neighbourhood windows. Patriarca transports us into a world of women with desires and needs which they have learned to suppress out of cultural deference. I highly recommend this book for its gorgeous contribution to understanding Italian women's experiences and for the Italian female sensibility with which it dances."
-- Theresa Carilli, University of Purdue
"Gianna Patriarca introduces her characters with a sharp-eyed gentleness and compassion rooted in fond familiarity. These are stories in which the author is sometimes observer, sometimes participant. They do not end at the final page, but carry on in our imagination, in our emotions. In each of her observant tales, there is something of herself and of myself and of all of us."
-- Linda Stitt, poet