A moving blend of words and images, An Italian American Odyssey tells the story of the journey to America across seven generations of one Italian-American family.
Drawing on a remarkable collection of raw material—fragments of family letters, stories, diaries, and other writings, as well as photographs, collages, and assemblages of such humble objects as a pasta cutter, mismatched kitchen chairs, and faded biancheria, or dowry linens—B. Amore fashions a new encounter with American history, as a story retold and reimagined.
Lavishly illustrated in full color, this visual memoir is based on Amore’s multimedia exhibition Lifeline: filo della vita, which traveled with great acclaim from the Ellis Island Museum to Boston, Rome, and Naples. Woven throughout are numerous interviews—in both English and Italian, as are many other documents—and historic photographs from the Ellis Island archives. Also included are original essays by Pellegrino D’Acierno, Fred Gardaphè, Jennifer Guglielmo, Edvige Giunta, Flavia Rando, Joseph Sciorra, and Robert Viscusi—who take Amore’s art
as a starting point for illuminating explorations of the immigrant experience—from the aesthetics of cultural memory and the persistence of ethnic identity to issues of gender, race, and generational change in Italian-American history and life. The book includes an Italian translation of the full text.
The book’s colorful, highly charged assemblages link two worlds, many generations, and one family’s journey to pasts shared by so many millions of others. In its powerful words and images, the children and grandchildren of America’s immigrants can enter B. Amore’s world—and in the process, rediscover their own.