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Fiction Coming Of Age

Lives of the Saints

by (author) Nino Ricci

Doubleday Canada
Initial publish date
Sep 2020
Coming of Age, Literary, Historical
  • Paperback / softback

    Publish Date
    Jul 2008
    List Price
  • Hardback

    Publish Date
    Dec 2010
    List Price
  • Paperback / softback

    Publish Date
    Sep 2020
    List Price

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Where to buy it


National Bestseller
A New York Times Best Book
Winner of the Governor General's Literary Award for Fiction
Winner of the Books in Canada First Novel Award
Winner of the F.G. Bressani Prize
Winner of the Betty Trask Award
Winner of the Winifred Holtby Memorial Prize
First published thirty years ago, Lives of the Saints moves to Anchor Canada

What really happened to Vittorio's mother that day in the stable? That she'd been bitten by a snake was clear enough: the swelling in the ankle proved it. But that other swelling, the one that led eventually to his mother's long, loose dresses, to those dark, cold stares from the other villagers--what strange thing could be taking shape there in his mother's belly, and what doom would it carry them all to?

About the author

NINO RICCI's best-selling Lives of the Saints (published in the United States as The Book of Saints) won the Governor General's Award for fiction, the SmithBooks/Books in Canada First Novel Award, and the F. G. Bressani Prize. The New York Times Book Review hailed it as “an extraordinary story — brooding and ironic, suffused with yearning, tender and lucid and gritty . . . [The author has] perfect pitch and brilliant descriptive powers.” This was the first book in a trilogy and was followed by In a Glass House — “beautifuly written and tireless in its pursuit of emotional truth” (Times Literary Supplement) — and Where She Has Gone, which was a finalist for the Giller Prize.

Nino Ricci's profile page


  • Winner, Betty Trask Prize & Award (UK)
  • Winner, Governor General's Literary Awards - Fiction

Editorial Reviews

WINNER OF the Governor General’s Literary Award for Fiction; Books in Canada First Novel Award; Francesco Giuseppe Bressani Literary Prize; The Society of Authors’ Betty Trask Award; Royal Society of Literature’s Winifred Holtby Prize; and France’s Prix Contrepoint for Young Authors
A New York Times Best Book

“A book to celebrate—a wise, poignant and poised novel.” —The Wall Street Journal

“There is an inner strength in Nino Ricci’s prose which is apparent on every page. . . . Acutely and sensitively observed.” —The Tablet

“Moving and compelling.” —The Spectator (UK)

“An impressive debut.” —The Guardian (UK)

“Nino Ricci’s complex and skillfully fashioned tale of life in an Italian Apennine village offers pleasure too seldom present in contemporary fiction: full and involving characterizations, an exhilarating combination of tightly knit plot and episodic looseness, and a rich sense of lives lived truly communally, in conflict and in balance with one another . . . exudes a dazzling breadth and richness.” —USA Today

“A wise novel, elegant and compassionate.” —Ottawa Citizen

“A gem of a novel, and its author is blessed with the rare ability to recreate the world entire and make us believe in it.”—The Globe and Mail

“A fine, artful piece of work . . . a powerful tale.” —Washington Post

“A beautifully paced and measured first novel. . . . An extraordinary story—brooding and ironic, suffused with yearning, tender and lucid and gritty. . . . [Ricci has] perfect pitch and brilliant descriptive powers.” —The New York Times Book Review

“A first novel with hardly a false note.” —The Observer

Other titles by Nino Ricci