Been Here a Thousand Years
Mariolina Venezia; Translated from the Italian by Marina Harss
In a tiny, ancient Italian hill town, where the land gives little and money and food are scarce, Don Francesco Falcone is a man to be reckoned with: rich, powerful, restless, intransigent. When he meets another force of nature, Concetta, a penniless but indestructible farmworker, the stage is set for the creation of an exceptional family: generations of strong, complicated boys and, especially, girls. The battles among them are many as they live through historical upheaval and private passions.
Their stories are told by Gioia, the last of the line, a woman of our times who fights tirelessly against convention. She is the product of a family of memorable women who know how to survive, and also how to make something fantastical and rich out of their lives: with their hands they create delicate and complex embroideries, while their minds embroider endless, elaborate stories.
In this sweeping, unforgettable novel, Mariolina Venezia portrays five generations of the Falcone family. Through their complicated, funny, tragic, and astonishing stories, Venezia also recounts a century and a half of Italy's tumultuous history. Been Here a Thousand Years is a testament to the Falcone family, and also to the vibrant, irrational, irresistible country that produced it.
At around three o'clock in the afternoon of March 27, 1861, in the town of Grottole, which is in the part of Basilicata that lies about one hundred kilometers from the Puglia coastline, an event took place...