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The Queen of the Big Time: A Novel Paperback – May 31, 2005


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Ballantine Books (May 31, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0812967801
  • ISBN-13: 978-0812967807
  • Product Dimensions: 8.1 x 5.2 x 0.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (115 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #85,841 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Set in early 20th-century smalltown America, Trigiani's fifth novel (after the Big Stone Gap trilogy and Lucia, Lucia) tells a heartfelt but clumsy story of strong women enduring the rigors of farm life and the trials of romantic and familial relations. At its worst, the novel is a morass of incomplete story lines, underdeveloped characters and inconsistent tenses. Still, readers who've fallen for Trigiani's hallmark personages—Italian immigrants living the American dream in rural Pennsylvania—in previous books will delight in meeting these new ones. Nella Castelluca has brains and ambition; she hopes to someday become a teacher. Alas, when her father is injured at work, she must quit school and stay home to help on the family farm. Her first dream slips away, but working farm life turns out to be not so bad, and Nella eventually falls for the dreamy poet Renato Lanzara. But when he skips town, dream two is crushed, and Nella faces a tough reality: marry another man, and move on. Easier said than done, of course, and Trigiani spends the rest of the book drawing out the saga. Although the writing never rises above B-level, the novel does paint a thorough picture of Italian-American family life and the deep pain of lost love.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Review

Praise for The Queen of the Big Time:


“Moving and poignant ...Trigiani has again defied categorization. She is more than a one-hit wonder, more than a Southern writer, more than a women’s novelist. She is an amazing young talent.”
Richmond Times-Dispatch

“A sweet story of growing up, marrying, and dying within the framework of family, love, and community...[The Queen of the Big Time] will make you smile and reminisce about gentler, more civil times in small-town and rural America.”
The Boston Globe

“Trigiani takes from her own heritage to craft a generous plot-driven novel that’s a breezy page-turner ... ‘Queen’ offers a personal saga of American history and a romance woven together with warmth and good humor.”
Oregonian

“Full-bodied and elegantly written ... Trigiani builds [The Queen of the Big Time] around an old-fashioned love story ...Pure pleasure.”
Washington Post Book World

“Deaths lead to births, dreams deferred yield wondrous new visions [in The Queen of the Big Time] ... intensely detailed characters.”
Entertainment Weekly

“Heartfelt ... Readers who have fallen for Trigiani’s hallmark personages ... in previous books will delight in meeting the new ones É [Paints] a thorough picture of Italian-American family life and the deep pain of lost love.”–Publishers Weekly


Praise for Adriana Trigiani and Lucia, Lucia
“Trigiani's writing is as dazzling as Lucia's dresses.”
USA Today

“Fast-moving, funny, visual, and moving. . . A vibrant, loving, wistful portrait of a lost time and place. Every page is engrossing and begs us to read the next.”
Richmond Times-Dispatch

“Seamlessly superb storytelling . . . Trigiana never loses hold of the hearts of her characters–or of the wisdom that tragedy and redemption are also part of life.”
–St. Louis Post-Dispatch

“This heartwarming tale is full of lessons about taking risks in life and love.”
Cosmopolitan

“Compelling...a breezy read.”
Entertainment Weekly


From the Hardcover edition.

More About the Author

Bestselling author Adriana Trigiani is beloved by millions of readers around the world for her hilarious and heartwarming novels. Adriana was raised in a small coal-mining town in southwest Virginia in a big Italian family. She chose her hometown for the setting and title of her debut novel, the critically acclaimed bestseller Big Stone Gap. The heartwarming story continues in the novel's sequels Big Cherry Holler, Milk Glass Moon, and Home to Big Stone Gap. Stand-alone novels Lucia, Lucia; The Queen of the Big Time; and Rococo, all topped the bestseller lists, as did Trigiani's 2009 Very Valentine and its 2010 sequel Brava, Valentine.

Trigiani teamed up with her family for Cooking with My Sisters, a cookbook coauthored by her sister Mary, with contributions from their sisters and mother. The cookbook-memoir features recipes and stories dating back a hundred years from both sides of their Italian-American family.

Adriana's novels have been translated and sold in more than 35 countries around the world. Trigiani's latest blockbuster Brava, Valentine (Very Valentine's sequel) debuted at number seven on the New York Times bestseller list following its February 2010 debut. Valentine Roncalli juggles her long-distance romance, as she works to better the family's struggling business. A once-in-a-lifetime business opportunity takes Val from the winding streets of Greenwich Village to the sun-kissed cobblestones of Buenos Aires, where she finds a long-buried secret hidden deep within a family scandal.

Trigiani's first young adult novel, Viola in Reel Life--the first in a series--debuted in September 2009. Fans fell in love with fourteen-year-old filmmaker Viola Chesterton, who moves from Brooklyn to a South Bend, Indiana, boarding school. In Spring 2011, readers will delight in Trigiani's follow-up novel Viola in the Spotlight, as Viola and friends spend an adventure-filled summer vacation in Brooklyn.

Readers will take a peek into the lives of the women who shaped Adriana, with her November 2010 nonfiction debut: Don't Sing at the Table: Life Lessons from my Grandmothers. The book makes a lovely gift for family (or yourself!), as Trigiani shares a treasure trove of insight and guidance from her two grandmothers: time-tested common sense advice on the most important aspects of a woman's life, from childhood to old age.

Fans everywhere will soon see Adriana's work on the big and small screens! She wrote the screenplay for and will direct the big screen version of her novel Big Stone Gap. Adriana has also written the film adaptations of Lucia, Lucia and Very Valentine--which will be made into a Lifetime Original Movie in 2011!

Critics from the Washington Post to the New York Times to People have described Adriana's novels as "tiramisu for the soul," "sophisticated and wise," and "dazzling." They agree that "her characters are so lively they bounce off the page," and that "...her novels are full bodied and elegantly written."

Trigiani's novels have been chosen for the USA Today Book Club, the Target Bookmarked series, and she's now officially a regular with Barnes & Noble Book Clubs, where she has conducted three online book clubs. Adriana speaks to book clubs from her home three to four nights a week.

Her books are so popular around the world that Lucia, Lucia was selected as the best read of 2004 in England by Richard and Judy.

After graduating from Saint Mary's College in South Bend, Indiana, Adriana moved to New York City to become a playwright. She founded the all-female comedy troupe "The Outcasts," which performed on the cabaret circuit for seven years. She made her off-Broadway debut at the Manhattan Theatre Club and was produced in regional theatres of note around the country.

Among her many television credits, Adriana was a writer/producer on The Cosby Show, A Different World, and executive producer/head writer for City Kids for Jim Henson Productions. Her Lifetime television special, Growing Up Funny, garnered an Emmy Award nomination for Lily Tomlin. In 1996, she wrote and directed the documentary film Queens of the Big Time. It won the Audience Award at the Hamptons Film Festival and toured the international film festival circuit from Hong Kong to London.

Adriana then wrote a screenplay called Big Stone Gap, which became the novel that began the series. Adriana spent a year and a half waking up at three in the morning to write the novel before going into work on a television show.

Adriana is married to Tim Stephenson, the Emmy Award-winning lighting designer of The Late Show with David Letterman. They live in Greenwich Village with their daughter, Lucia.

Perhaps one popular book critic said it best: "Trigiani defies categorization. She is more than a one-hit wonder, more than a Southern writer, more than a woman's novelist. She is an amazing young talent

Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars
5 star
75
4 star
29
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8
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See all 115 customer reviews
If you like to laugh, get angry and cry - then this book is for you.
Amazon Customer
This book is a beautiful story about three generations of an Italian family living in America and the main character's journey through life and love.
Molly Ringwald
The characters and their life stories were fascinating and very well written.
Barbie

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

31 of 31 people found the following review helpful By K. VINE VOICE on January 13, 2005
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I am not one of those women who reads any book that talks about "love" and swoons for days over how "romantic" it was. I find those thinly-written pulp-romance books tiring in their lack of an original plot. That is why i LOVE Adriana Trigiani! Her novels have just the PERFECT amount of romance, and an even more perfect amount of reality. Her books are gloriously engaging, full of richness and familiarity. They have far more depth than the "romantic" fluff that most of today's books aimed at woman contain.

I have loved each of her books more than the last. Her writing just keep getting better and better, and I am so excited to what she comes out with next. In my opinion, Queen of the Big Time is her best novel yet. I grew so attached to the characters, and cried my eyes out, and loved them so much, that i was torn between finishing the book as fast as i could, or savoring every page to stretch out my time with the Castellucas & Zollanos.

Perfect. Just perfect.
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37 of 39 people found the following review helpful By Sandra Mitchell on July 31, 2004
Format: Hardcover
Adriana Trigiani returns in her 5th novel, drawing us back to the charms of small town life, a rich Italian heritage and loyalty to family.

In The Queen of the Big Time, Trigiani focuses on her central character Nella, who has dreams of attending college and becoming a teacher. Circumstances happen, however, that force Nella to work in the local blouse factory, destroying her dreams of furthering her education. The sparkle that remains however is her romance with the town heart throb Renato. Unfortunately, things are not to be with Renato and Trigiani takes us down an exciting and meaningful path with a colorful cast of characters and surprising twists and turns.

As in her previous novels, Trigiani brings themes of personal dreams, her love for her Italian roots, love and romance, and deep insights into people of all dimensions. Picking up her novel is like picking up a conversation with an old friend..immediately warm and inviting.
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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful By mamareadssomuch on July 23, 2004
Format: Hardcover
Loved this book ~ so eager for it to come out and I wasn't dissapointed.

Nella's hopes of becoming a teacher go a different way as her help is needed to help support the family. You feel her longing to cultivate her education but understand the need her father has in asking for her to work.

Nella falls deep in love with Renato but their fate is up to the reader to find out. A surprising twist lurks the reader in a different direction and Nella finds herself attracted to another man, Franco.

This is a beautiful sweeping story that was good beginning to end. My only complaint would be that it covered a big chunk of time quickly but was good while it lasted.

I look forward to more books by this author.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Sheila A. Reiter on July 9, 2004
Format: Hardcover
I loved "Lucia, Lucia" but this is even better. It's so easy to fall in love yourself with the people who fall in love in Trigiani's books. She writes with a knowledge of the deepest feelings of a very independent woman who has loved and lost. More importantly she keeps that love in her heart all the days of her life despite marrying and living happily with another man. A warm and loving portrait of a family who truly love each other and who laugh and cry together all the while striving for a better life. They do not forget their origins though and return to their roots more than once. This is a story to hold in your heart and to cherish along with all the truly wonderful tales you keep on your book shelf. READ THIS BOOK!
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Candace L. Grimme on February 20, 2005
Format: Hardcover
This was the first Trigiani book that I read and remains my favorite after having read them all. Trigiani gives us "real" characters, a bit of Italian culture, lots of feeling and emotion without being overly sappy and sentimental, and humor.

Her main character, to me, is reminiscent of Francie Nolan in "A Tree Grows in Brooklyn" with lots of spunk and ambition.

In addition, for those who like coming-of-age stories, I recommend "I Capture the Castle," by Dodie Smith, and "Joy School," by Elizabeth Berg. All of Trigiani's books are worth reading, and I can't wait for the next one.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Molly Ringwald on April 16, 2006
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The Queen of the Big Time was the first Adriana Trigiani book I have read. I've just placed an order for every book she's written, including the cookery book! This book is a beautiful story about three generations of an Italian family living in America and the main character's journey through life and love. I think every girl with fire in her blood will see something of herself in this book. A GREAT read. Enjoy!
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Bookreporter on July 24, 2004
Format: Hardcover
Some books, particularly romantic fiction, are like potato chips --- tasty little morsels that offer a brief but satisfying crunch. You don't expect them to satisfy your hunger but they'll do for the moment. Others are more like multi-course meals --- epic sagas that take you weeks to read and leave you feeling sated, if slightly overly full --- like a great dinner at an exclusive restaurant; you can't do it all the time, but when it happens, it's a memorable event.

Adriana Trigiani's THE QUEEN OF THE BIG TIME doesn't fall into either of these categories: it's the home-cooked meal no one makes quite like your Mom --- whether your Mom specialized in pot roast, baked ziti or arroz con pollo. Warm, satisfying and filling, without being overly rich, it's a book meant to be savored.

THE QUEEN OF THE BIG TIME tells the story of three generations of the Castelluca family, who live near Roseto, Pennsylvania. The novel centers on Nella Castelluca, her parents and her sisters, as they grow up on a farm outside of Roseto. Nella meets and falls in love with the most popular boy in town, Renato Lanzara. Renato's fondness for books and poetry match well with Nella's own love of learning, and it seems like a match made in heaven. Then, inexplicably, Renato leaves Nella and Roseto altogether, breaking poor Nella's heart. Four years later, just as Nella is about to start a new life with another man, Renato returns.

Trigiani's novel reads, in part, like a love letter to the immigrant families that settled in eastern Pennsylvania from Italy in the 1800s and worked hard to maintain their customs and way of life. The book takes its name from the town's biggest annual celebration --- "The Big Time" --- which is the Feast of Our Lady of Mt.
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