browsenews and eventsordering informationfor authorsprizesfor instructorsrights and permissionsdigital editionsEBooksAuthor Videoabout the pressSupport the Presscontact us
February 2002
256 pages  

6 x 8
9780822957829
Paper $14.00 Add to cart

View Cart
Check Out
Other Ways to order
In the Gathering Woods
Bernardi, Adria
Winner of the 2000 Drue Heinz Literature Prize, selected by Frank Conroy. Inter-connected short stories about a family with roots in a remote Italian mountain village.

Kindle eBook Available

Nook eBook Available

iPad eBook Available
Adria Bernardi is the author of a novel, The Day Laid on the Altar, and an oral history, Houses with Names: The Italian Immigrants of Highwood, Illinois, and is the translator of Gianni Celati’s Adventures in Africa, and of screenwriter Tonino Guerra’s poetry, Abandoned Places. Bernardi is the recipient of an Editor’s Prize from the Missouri Review , and the James Fellowship, awarded by the Heekin Group Foundation. Her novel received the 1999 Bakeless Literary Publication Prize from the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference. She lives in Worcester, Massachusetts.
Complete Description Reviews
Drue Heinz Literature Prize
Fiction/Drue Heinz
close 

2000 Drue Heinz Literature Prize Winner Selected by Frank Conroy In the Gathering Woods, contains a cast of characters who hail from the same Italian ancestors, but whose stories come at us unbounded by time and space. The book opens early in the twentieth century, with a narrator’s boyhood recollections of gathering mushrooms with his grandfather—a narrator who seems still haunted by a terrifying local legend that tormented him as a boy. We skip backward to a young shepherd-artist in the Apennine mountains in the 1500s, who yearns to be discovered, as Giotto was. Later, a preverbal baby accumulates bits of the conversation carried on by adults at the table above her head; a neurologist from Chicago returns to the Apennines to deposit shards of glass at a grave. Whether they speak in the lost dialect of an immigrant, of infancy, or of an adolescent girl’s school lessons, these stories call up fragments of language in a struggle to understand and attempt to console through the act of reassembling. The language of these stories is both lyrical and comic, providing insight through the details of Bernardi’s writing.
close 
close 

"Whether a small boy picking mushrooms in Italy, a wet nurse, an Illinois girl in the 60s learning Latin in Catholic school—Adria Bernardi's characters are in love with the mysteries and quirks and strange inevitability of language, and its power to shape memory. Bernardi's stories, which range from Chicago to Italy, have both strength and a lovely delicacy, and are deeply rooted in her own fascination with language."—Jane Hamilton

“This impressive collection is distinguished by its graceful and engaging language as well as its impressive and varied cast of characters. The stories, which loosely follow a family from Italy during the 1500s to modern-day Chicago, take on the energy of a novel. In the Gathering Woods is even more delightful to read the second time around.”—Tony Ardizzone

“Tony Ardizzone suggests that these stories ‘loosely trace a family from Italy during the 1500s to modern day Chicago,’ and that is in some sense true, but also in some sense misleading. . . . I would describe the connective thread between the narratives as DNA—and I’m not making a metaphor. The individuals in the short narratives are carrying specific DNA through time, so that the work is not about family in the . . . novel sense with which we are so familiar, but rather about human survival through time itself, with or without the people having a conscious sense of connectedness to each other. . . . One might simply have to read [it] to understand.”—Frank Conroy, Final Judge, Drue Heinz Literature Prize 2000

“Adria Bernardi’s new story collection is a wonderfully accomplished work of fiction, telling the stories of such diverse characters as a a 16th-century Apennine shepherd, a wet nurse suffering from a sort of agoraphobia, a pair of Italian mushroom hunters and a workaholic neurologist from Chicago. . . The stories in the collection are so rich in detail, so rich in voice and so rich in history that they often read as sketches of much longer works. . . . These stories are lyrical and lovely. Thes narratives cohere to form an impressive collection.”----Sharon Dilworth, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, October 22, 2000

“It is easy to see how this collection earned the prestigious Drue Heinz Literature Prize for In the Gathering Woods is a literary monument of Bernardi’s love for language and a joy to read.”---Fred Gardaphe, Italianita, 9.1 (Feb. 2001)

“Here at last is fiction worthy of award. . . . With crystalline prose, Bernardi illuminates the gentle fatalism and inextricable sadness of Italian families, here and across the sea. . . . Haunting, with a taste in the words like bitter cherries.”---GraceAnne A. DeCandido, Booklist, October 2000

“Folkloric at first, and full of Italian phrases (translated), Bernardi’s somber stories have the outlines of a grand family saga but settle for the minor pleasures of competent ethnic fiction.”---Kirkus Reviews

“Craft and imagination distinguish this short story cycle about a long bloodline originating in a remote Italian mountain village. ...Ranging fluidly over 400 years in the Bartolai family history, writer and translator Adria Bernardi culls a handful introspective types from that lineage and lets them think out loud. These stories flower forth from the family tree with the arresting color of a late -season bloom. Her distincive teqnique, both panaramic and pointillist, has a unique power to make visable minor ancesteral inheirtiances that time tends to rub out. “ —ChicagoTribune

“Bernardi’s remarkable recreation of a slice of Titian’s life gives the reader asense of having visited the studio of the great Renaissance Italian artist. It is an aspect of Bernardi’s style in these stories to suggest more than she describes about the details of her settings and characters”. —Professor Ken Scambray, L’Italo-Americano Thursday, March 29, 2001

It is easy to see how this short story collection earned the prestigious Drue Heinz Literature Prize, for “In the Gathering Woods” is a literary monument of Bernardi’s love for language and a joy to read. — Fred Gardaphe, Italianita , Fra Noim Feb, 2001

The writer achievces her effect by the careful amassing of the smallest details, and is expert at the current vogue of interconnected short stories, here about family members on both sides of the Atlantic. Loneliness in an alien land is a stong theme in her book, which earned the highly valued Drue Heinz literature prize for 2000. —The Potomac Reader, Faith Reyher Jackson


close 

© 2014 University of Pittsburgh Press. All rights reserved.