Tempting Faith Di Napoli

Publisher: Anchor Canada
“Our house, in Little Italy, shared a wall with the Rossis’ next door, and our clothesline connected with the Pilettis’ behind us. My mother used to say that if one of the neighbours’ houses was swallowed up by hell, we would all be pulled down with them.”

Smart, witty, and emotionally generous, Tempting Faith DiNapoli is first-time novelist Lisa Gabriele’s alternately wrenching and funny coming-of-age story about a girl who is born with a powerful faith — a faith that is sorely tested across the difficult years of her childhood and adolescence.

Bewildered by her lot as the daughter in a fundamentally and often hilariously dysfunctional family, Faith genuinely wants to be a good Catholic girl. And she’s pretty sure Jesus loves her. Trouble is, she’s angry. Angry with her father for leaving, her mom for never going anywhere, and her siblings — just because they’re around. So Faith lies. She cheats and she steals. In fact, she breaks every commandment on the list, mostly by accident. And in the process, Faith finds herself increasingly torn between the girl she and Jesus want her to be, and the girl she just plain happens to be.

Lisa Gabriele writes with rare confidence and insight. Her sure-handed narrative hums along on the charged rhythms of Faith’s poignant quest for her own private happy ending. Charming, fresh, and big-hearted, Tempting Faith DiNapoli is a novel that will stay with readers long after the last page has been turned.

From the Hardcover edition.


Chapter One

These are the things I remember about the city. The crumbly, brown-bricked houses in our neighborhood were stacked so closely together, I used to pretend when I was four, they were the chipped, rotting teeth lining the mouth of an urban ogre, and the people who lived inside were busy little...
Read More


Tempting Faith DiNapoli represents a thin shaft of light, poking through the gray clouds, illuminating a promising new literary path. Thank God.” -- The Toronto Star

“This book is innocently impious, purely vulgar, harmlessly violent, blamelessly profane, profanely spiritual, unambiguously funny and unabashedly unique. It explodes with the kind of raw, bawdy, chaotic, intemperate life force rarely found in Canadian literature.” -- Hamilton Spectator

“Here’s a debut novel that proves crises of family and faith can be laugh-out-loud funny and deeply poignant at the very same time. Gabriele’s touch is deft, infectious, and loving as she brings us into the world of Faith DiNapoli and her unforgettable family.” -- Marnie Woodrow, author of Spelling Mississippi and In the Spice House

“Lisa Gabriele writes with deep meaning, truth, and humour in her wonderful debut novel about growing up. I loved the world Gabriele creates, rich in detail and emotion. Faith DiNapoli is a delight: her struggles are universal and her aim is true.” -- Adriana Trigiani, author of Big Stone Gap, Big Cherry Holler, and Milk Glass Moon

"A bright and genial debut about a girl's awkward coming-of-age in 1980s Canada. Good-natured, witty, told with an agreeably light touch -- a story that enchants with its own simplicity." -- Kirkus