poet, photographer, activist


by Paola Corso

(University of Wisconsin Press, 2005, 2007)

John Gardner Fiction Book Award Finalist

PA School Library Assn's "Young Adult Top 40 Fiction Titles"

Pushcart Press Editors Book Award Nomination

“Best Books for Public and Secondary School Libraries”

Montserrat Review’s Best Short Stories of 2005

In this mesmerizing fiction debut, Italian American women and girls spin their culture's lore to enliven a dying steel town. Even a wrecking ball is no match for the legend of Giovanna's green thumb in the title story. Quirky and profound, Paola Corso's magical leaps reveal the poetry of these women's lives. 

"Paola Corso knows the secret to surviving in every small fading Western Pa. town: a mix of quiet courage and a wild imagination. Generation to generation, the women of Giovanna's 86 Circles somehow find the power to redeem the everyday."—STEWART O'NAN, author of The Good Wife and Snow Angels

"Corso mixes myth and reality, fable and grit to illustrate the beauty, the power, and the necessity of storytelling. She makes a major contribution to the growing body of female Italian-American literature."—RITA CIRESI, author of Sometimes I Dream in Italian and Mother Rocket

"Corso's prose is inviting in its clarity and music as she creates a world that is at once familiar and strange. Her collection is at the same level of literary achievement as Jhumpa Lahiri's Interpreter of Maladies."—DAVID HUDDLE, author of La Tour Dreams of the Wolf Girl

"...memorable and entrancing...powerful in the moment thanks to the imagery's dream-like density."—PUBLISHER'S WEEKLY

"Corso is a captivating storyteller in the tradition of Italian fairytale makers. Giovanna's 86 Circles heartily entertains."—RAIN TAXI

"Corso joins a fine cast of American women authors of imaginative writing."—MARGIN: EXPLORING MODERN MAGICAL REALISM

"Corso's strong ethnic narratives are reminiscent of those by Toni Morrison."—PITTSBURGH MAGAZINE

"Accessible, big-hearted fiction. Corso has a Catholic imagination. Like Springsteen, she tends toward the apotheosis of everyday people struggling with faith of some species."—THE CITY PAPER

"It is impossible not to be touched by the richness and generosity of spirit of Paola Corso's stories."—THE LAW SOCIETY OF NEW SOUTH WALES

"Giovanna's 86 Circles consistently surprises and delights."—BOOKS FOR READERS

"Beautiful writing, strong female characters, and adolescent themes will attract good readers to this little gem of a book." —Pennsylvania School Library Association's "To 40 Young Adult Fiction List" 

"Sharply imaginative...Corso's poetic talent shines...excellent fiction for girls and women of all ages."—ASSOCIATION FOR RESEARCH ON MOTHERING JOURNAL

Read a Book Review

For a signed copy of the book, send $16 with your address to Paola PayPal @pjcorso or Venmo @Paola-Corso-1

Click here for The University of Wisconsin Press website.

Order this book from  Barnes & Noble.

Copyright © 2020-2024 Paola Corso. All Rights Reserved.