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The Boston Globe

Arts

Book Review

‘All This Talk of Love’ by Christopher Castellani

Frankie Grasso, a grad student in literature at a “solidly second tier” university in Boston, and his mother, Maddalena, an Italian immigrant living in Delaware, talk every night on the phone. They review the day’s progress in their favorite soap operas and then each says, “I love you,” over and over, neither wanting to be the first to hang up.

This quirky ritual, with which Christopher Castellani opens “All This Talk of Love,’’ captures the essence of his rich and entertaining new novel: Life’s twists and turns, coincidences and misunderstandings, reunions and partings are often the stuff of soap opera. But, unlike in a soap opera, love in real life — such as that shared by Maddalena and Frankie — is intense and complicated.

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