a linked collection of Brooklyn stories, winner of the 2011 G.S. Sharat Chandra Prize for Short Fiction from BkMk Press (University of Missouri-Kansas City)
Garbage Night at the Opera covers roughly 30 years in the life of one extended family as their neighborhood loses the factory jobs that supported them, languishes for a generation, then gentrifies beyond their means.
Read an interview from the blog series The Next Big Thing here.
Garbage Night at the Opera was nominated for The Story Prize. Read the blog post here.
From Peter Orner, author of Love and Shame and Love
Valerie Fioravanti’s Garbage Night at the Opera is among the most accomplished and emotionally resonant story collections I have read in years. Deeply satisfying stories with a set of characters I feel like I came to know as well as my own family.
From Kate Christensen, author of The Astral
“Garbage Night at the Opera takes us deep into the heart of Greenpoint, the neighborhood I lived in for many years. Here, at last, is the real Brooklyn: gritty, tender, workaday, brave. Fioravanti’s characters are so vivid I felt as if I were watching them in real life. Her prose is unsentimental, intense, and enthralling.”
From Robert Boswell, author of The Heyday of the Insensitive Bastards
“With Garbage Night at the Opera, Valerie Fioravanti establishes herself as a writer to watch. The stories are written with wit and style, and she manages–in story after story–to touch upon something profoundly human. This is a terrific book.”
From Kevin McIlvoy, author of The Complete History of New Mexico
“These interrelated stories are a group of small, intense fires that form a large-scale conflagration. There are few books that portray the acts of trust, the violations of trust, the shaky truces, and the revenges of extended family as this one. Fioravanti’s working-class characters try to reverse the spell of hopelessness they have been cast under by family members or by lovers or by the broken promises of Brooklyn. Each brilliant page of Garbage Night at the Opera intimately places you inside the characters’ hearts and minds as they reckon with what cannot be salvaged — and what can.”
From Naomi Benaron, author of Running the Rift
“In these linked stories, Valerie Fioravanti transports us squarely into the middle of the lives of Italian immigrants living in Brooklyn. With unflinching and sparkling prose, she shows us the stuff theses characters are made of, a raw mixture of despair, humor, and above all, a fighting spirit and hope. Despite the curveballs poverty throws at them, Fioravanti lets us know, with love woven into every word, that in the end, these characters will emerge stronger and still on their feet. They will turn their faces, however bruised, to the future. There is only one word the reader is left with as the final curtain on these stories closes: Bravissimo!”
From contest judge Jacquelyn Mitchard, author of The Deep End of the Ocean
“These stories charm, illuminate and intrigue. They provoke the heart and comfort the mind, and display the generosity and wisdom characteristic of the best of short fiction. Long after the last page is turned, the reader is part of the texture of these worlds, rocked in the fabric of the writer’s vision.”