The Infinite Now
Rosina Vicente’s daughter doesn’t know how to control the power she’s inherited. Just sixteen years old, Fiora Vicente has lost both parents in quick succession to influenza in Philadelphia in 1918, and now she must try to navigate the world alone. Add to this struggle the fact that she is the Rosina—the fortune teller’s—daughter, and her plight becomes even more perilous.
Mindy Tarquini beautifully weaves a tapestry of superstition, time, and hope in her most recent novel, The Infinite Now. Her protagonist, Fiora, has inherited her mother’s fortune telling curtain, a garment more full of magic than Fiora could have supposed. And, with that inheritance, comes enemies and consequences. As Fiora tries to grasp the power herself, she is aided by Don Sebastiano, a kindly old cobbler who takes her in after she is rescued from the street by Signora Lattanzi.
The novel is filled with Italian immigrants trying to make their way in a city under siege by influenza, much like Fiora is herself besieged by a past she barely understands. The novel threads together a narrative influenced by parts of L. Frank Baum’s classic The Wonderful Wizard of Oz. Fans of the story of Dorothy will delight in the parallels Tarquini draws between the displaced girl from Kansas and the wandering Fiora. Just as Dorothy meets her tribe along the Yellow Brick Road, so does Fiora Vicente find friends, namely Benedetta and Carlo, who help her discover what family and home really mean. Also, like Dorothy, Fiora faces a nemesis, the village healer or “guaritrice,” a woman who seems to promise Fiora everything she most desires, but at what cost?
Those who enjoy magical realism mixed with a bit of mystery will find themselves highly entertained by The Infinite Now, and the story reminds readers that hope and love are always good guides when we feel we’ve lost our way.