Tuesday, November 11, 2008
Made Up of Arias
Lilla, Joey and Clara Pentangeli, their father Salvatore and their mercurial mother Seraphina live on Paradise Street behind a giant billboard, in a charmed world filled with operatic heroines. Seraphina idolizes Maria Callas. Between bouts of housework, she re-enacts Violetta’s death scene from La Traviata, dresses in a kimono like CioCioSan in Madama Butterfly, and concocts outrageous tales for her three enchanted children. She also reveals one or two secrets from her past. At last real-life tragedy overtakes the house on Paradise.
Michelle Alfano is a Toronto writer. Her short story “Opera” on which this novella is based, was a finalist for a Journey Prize anthology. Her fiction and non-fiction work has been widely published in Canada and in the U.S.