{reading} a life, in (almost) deaths

I don't remember where I first heard about The Seven or Eight Deaths of Stella Fortuna, so it was one I knew next to nothing about before I started reading it. A 464-page library hardcover, it was pretty hefty to lug around, but I'm happy to get a little extra exercise (or potential backaches) for a good read.

Stella Fortuna grew up in Italy but moved with her family to the US as a young adult. This is the story of the seven (or eight) times she nearly lost her life. I liked the way the near-death experiences wove the story together, but not in a completely linear way. I liked the subtle ebb and flow of time.

I wasn't engrossed immediately; Stella's story took me a bit to get into (after about a third of the book if I had to guess). Don't pick this up if you like fast-paced, plot-driven novels. However, if you love a family saga that focuses on the ups and downs of one person's life--a life that can't quite be called extraordinary, yet is far from boring, this may be for you.

For a completely different take on a similar theme of a life told in nearly-fatal experiences, try I Am, I Am, I Am: Seventeen Brushes with Death by Maggie O'Farrell. It's a memoir, and much shorter--only offering a glimpse into her life--but a great read nonetheless.

The Seven or Eight Deaths of Stella Fortuna: A Novel

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