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"Cerrone tells her story in a deliberative prose...perfectly evoking both the setting and time period of this piece of historical fiction. The tale brings to mind American literary realism of the early 20th century—Upton Sinclair, Jack London—as well as the books of midcentury Sicilian writers like Leonardo Sciascia. Cerrone uses Ntoni’s experiences to shed light on the little-remembered soccorso morto practice, which held thousands of children in virtual slavery...A well-crafted and affecting literary tale."

"...a powerful survey that brings to life and personalizes the plight of child laborers and their experiences, highly recommended for any who enjoy historical novels in general and, particularly, those who look for cultural insights and social messages in fiction readings."

Midwest Book Review

April 2017, MBR Bookwatch

"Cerrone tells this salt of the earth story in raw, blunt terms, via a naturalistic mode worthy of Emile Zola (as in works such as Germinal, his masterpiece about striking coal miners). She digs beneath the facts of exploitation to dramatize visceral sensations and emotions. The Hunger Saint creates a vivid world of appalling poverty and cruelty. But there is mercy: for this boy, slavery will not be destiny."

Boston's Online Arts Magazine

"Cerrone shows how systemic oppression can coarsen the soul...Cerrone is lucid, precise, often lyrical in describing Ntoni’s world....When Ntoni survives by grit and wiles, keeping his integrity, we rejoice in the resilience and strength of the human this slim novella, Cerrone creates a searing portrait of child labor that still entraps millions worldwide. For this reason, as well as its vivid prose and memorable characters, The Hunger Saint is a valuable read."

"Powerful writing...This is a story that is very moving, and...certainly memorable."

"Cerrone’s book oozes authenticity...For the book’s characters, war has obliterated some of the finesses of polite society where people who have long lived together must peacefully co-habitate...Cerrone scarily conveys a sense that in this life, it’s not easy getting out alive."

Jeanne Bonner

"The Hunger Saint is an exquisitely written, vivid, and engaging novella...Cerrone's story prizes resilience and the human spirit."

“It is the author’s capacity to create confidence through clarity that keeps us reading, revealing events that might have evoked disgust in a reader. Cerrone deftly keeps us reading on as she relates a tale of a family faced with the unthinkable”

"...a good read for anyone interested in Sicilian history...the plight of the working class. The carusi and the sulfur mines are a part of history that I was unaware of, and if that’s the case for you, then I would deeply recommend this novella."

5-Star Review

"Cerrone’s The Hunger Saint is what I would call, unreservedly, a tour de force, a small but powerful novella...the story she tells is multi-layered and complex, so much so , that the reader may have a very visceral reaction to the story"


"Well-researched, The Hunger Saint is a snapshot out of time, a picture of the desperate struggle to survive in a post-war world."

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Praise for The Hunger Saint

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