"The Stonecutter's Aria" by Carol Faenzi
The Stonecutter's Aria
"An Italophile's delight." - Ross King, NYTimes Bestselling Author of Brunelleschi's Dome
Carol Faenzi's award-winning historical novel is based on the true stories of her marble-carving, opera-singing ancestors who emigrated over 100 years ago from Carrara, Italy, the site of the most famous white marble quarries in the world - to Indiana, the site of the nation's premier building material, limestone.
The novel takes the reader on a thrilling journey from Tuscany to the New World, a universal story of hope and heartache, separation and reunion, brutality and beauty. Following in the footsteps of Michelangelo, and with the stunning beauty of Puccini's opera arias as background, this is an intimate portrayal of the author's family and how their courage dramatically changed her life.
Writing in Florence during a career sabbatical, Carol followed her ancestors using her grandmother's journals to guide her - all through Tuscany, from the stunning marble quarries to ancient Etruscan cities. The result was The Stonecutter's Aria.
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Endorsements and Reviews

  • An utterly charming tale, an immigrant’s song that tells the history of a family as well as that of a whole century.  Whether writing about the marble quarries of Carrara or the construction of famous American landmarks, Carol Faenzi elevates social history to the realms of poetry.  The Stonecutter’s Aria is an Italophile’s delight.
    Ross King
    New York Times Best Selling Author of Brunelleschi’s Dome and Michelangelo and The Pope’s Ceiling
  • A memorable and unique “operatic” approach to telling a story of the Italian immigrant experience.  But it’s a universal tale that inspires us today to honor our ancestral past as well as tell the world our own stories.
    Angelo Pizzo
    Oscar winning screenwriter, “Hoosiers” and “Rudy”
  • Faenzi’s approach to the Italian-American experience is refreshing. She weaves together in a fascinating way the personal accounts of her family’s history. Each story is different through each member’s perspective as well as her own self-discovery and the result is a passionate narrative. A breath of fresh air. Brava!
    Michael Angelo DiLauro
    Filmmaker, Prisoners Among Us
  • A vigorous and attention-catching narrative about an artist's passion, adventures, regrets, and remembrance.
    The Midwest Book Review
    (Reviewer’s Choice for Fiction)
  • NUVO Magazine
    A rhapsodic and delicious book . . . Carol Faenzi is a Technicolor storyteller.
    NUVO Magazine
  • The Catholic Criterion
    A book with words that flow as smoothly as raindrops down the face of a chiseled stone façade…the amazing result is The Stonecutter’s Aria.”  (Read the full review by clicking here)
  • I could feel their [Faenzi’s ancestors] exhaustion at the end of a long day working the stone, the trepidation of leaving most of their possessions behind and making an arduous journey to a new land.
    The National Italian American Foundation’s News Monthly and L’Italo-Americano
  • Ancestry Magazine Book Review
    If you need a little inspiration, try a good read—a published family history that takes the form of a novel. Part fiction, mostly family story and fact, this beautifully written novel captures the stories of generations rather than the vital facts of individuals. Click here to read the full article.
    Ancestry Magazine Book Review
  • The Stonecutter’s Aria is a tribute to Faenzi’s immigrant ancestor’s occupation and his operatic tenor voice. The title also reflects the unique form of the story, narrated in the first person as a three-act opera.
    The National Catholic Weekly
  • It is a basic human need to know who we are and where we come from. As Edmund Burke said, “People will never look forward to posterity who never look backward to their ancestors.” This book is a testament to Burke’s observation: sustained by an affectionate acknowledgement of the strength of the values shown by this family down through the years, generation after generation, it is brought to life by an admiring evocation of the sensuality of so much of Italian daily life, from the sights and smells of mealtimes, freshly laundered bed linen, and home-grown fruit and vegetables. Along with the beauty of those other two pillars of Italian life – art and music – which come together so memorably in The Stonecutter’s Aria.
    Read the full review
    Elizabeth McDonald
    The Italian Insider, Rome
  • The true story of Aristide Giovannoni, a stone carver from Carrara with a passion for opera, is the basis for this novel, which, like an opera, is divided into three acts that span over 100 years. It begins with Aristide's 30-day crossing to America in the early 1900s on a ship where "disease, exhaustion and fear clung to us like our wrinkled and filthy clothes," and ends in the present with his great-granddaughter, the author of the novel.
    Order Sons of Italy in America
    The Stonecutter's Aria was a Summer of 2006 Book Club Selection

The Book Club

Meet the Author

The Stonecutter's Aria is very popular with book clubs. Invite Carol to your gathering to enjoy a lively discussion and poignant insights that can only happen in person. She will share her travels to Tuscany with you as well as her journey to find her ancestors. Learn more about inviting Carol to join yours in person or by Skype. Reading Guide available upon request.

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