Off the Shelf sat down to talk to Brigid Paskula, who has just published a wonderful novel, The Sun and Other Stars, that is set in a little town in Italy and is filled with charming characters and romance.

The story, which centers around Etto, a butcher’s son, and his friends is about love and forgiveness and cleverly uses soccer as the connection between all the characters and their stories.  
Having just lived through the passion of the World Cup we were intrigued about what made Brigid decide to mix love and calcio, what it’s like to live in Italy, and how a small Italian village is just like living in north-west Illinois.

Have you ever lived in a village like San Benedetto, and what was your experience there?

I took a job as a babysitter in Alassio, Italy the summer I turned 26. The family was wonderful. Everyone in the town knew them and by extension, knew who I was. Our mornings were spent at the beach in front of their house, then we would have lunch and a nap, and run errands in the afternoon. One of the regular errands was a butcher shop called Macelleria Valdora which was run by a guy my age named Nello and his parents.