poet, photographer, activist


by Paola Corso

(University of Wisconsin Press, 2007)

On The American Association for School Libraries’ “Best Books for High Schools”

On Family Tree Magazine's Recommended Genealogy Reading List  

On Library Journal's "First Novels: Fall Firsts" Notable List  

A Sons of Italy National Book Club Selection  

Catina's Haircut spans four generations of a peasant family in the brutal poverty of post-Unification southern Italy and in an immigrant's United States. The women in these tales dare to cross boundaries by discovering magical leaps inherent in the landscape, in themselves, and in the stories they tell and retell of family tragedy at a time of political unrest. Through an oral tradition embedded in the stone of memory and the flow of its reinvention, their passionate tale of resistance and transformation courses forward into new generations in a new world.  

"Here are important stories of loss and retrieval in an Italian family. We become witnesses to the courageous and undeniably Italian struggle of the last century's immigrants and consequently to that constant spark of human spirit in all people."—GIOIA TIMPANELLI, author of What Makes A Child Lucky   

"From the hard, unforgiving soil of Calabria to the congested neighborhood of Pittsburgh's Bloomfield section, the stories in Catina's Haircut eloquently present the narrative of the Italian immigrant in America. Corso's eye is sharp, fiercely honest yet also able to linger over unexpected beauty when it appears in this demanding landscape."—HILARY MASTERS, Carnegie Mellon University

"Catina's Haircut taps into deep places of storytelling—collective memory and imagination, folklore and social history—to bring together in one book the Fata Morgana, live chickens, the Risorgimento, and the Pittsburgh Steelers."—ADRIA BERNARDI, author of Openwork

"Corso follows an Italian family through four generations from the Calabrian town of San Procopio to Pittsburgh in this fable-like follow-up to Giovanna's 86 Circles.... The stories, individually, find moments of inspired, ethereal revelation."—Publishers Weekly  

"Rich in history, Paola Corso's Catina's Haircut is an imaginative look at the Italian experience in America. Corso's small, vivid stories end up being writ large, alternately personal and universal."—PITTSBURGH TRIBUNE-REVIEW

"Paola Corso is the Italo Calvino of our time. It is the humor I love the most—the wryness—the sweetness in these people's souls. Paola will be remembered for this. Italo Calvino, at the time of his death in 1956, was the most translated of Italian contemporary authors. Let us hope for an equal readership for Paola Corso."—GRACE CAVALIERI, Host "The Poet and the Poem" from the Library of Congress"  

"Paola Corso is especially good at the play between tales and fables and a brilliantly solid, earthbound realism."—BOOKS FOR READERS   

"Whether you're a first or seventh-generation Italian American, this novel will speak to you about the reasons your family left Italy. You'll also gain insight into how they turned miseria into miracles and built working-class identities that enabled them to survive a new world."—FRA NOI   

Read about Catina's Haircut on Psychology Today.

For a signed copy of the book, send $20 with your address to Paola PayPal @pjcorso or Venmo @Paola-Corso-1

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