“As nourishing as a three-course Italian feast, this is a fierce, moving tribute to the ties that bind.”—People (Book of the Week)

The #1 New York Times bestselling author of Sleepers offers a heartfelt homage to the women who taught him courage, kindness, and the power of storytelling: his mother, his grandmother, and his late wife.


At sixty-six, Lorenzo Carcaterra finds it easier to reflect on the past than ruminate on the future. “By the time you reach my age,” he writes, “you have witnessed too much loss to not be aware of what lies ahead.” This turn to the past inspired a poignant memoir about the women who made him the man he is today.

His Italian grandmother, Nonna Maria, gave him his first taste of a loving home during the summers he spent with her as a teenager on Ischia, an island off the coast of Naples. With her kindness, her humor, and the same formidable strength she employed to make secret trips for food when the Nazis occupied Ischia during World War II, she instilled in him the importance of community, providing shelter for a boy whose home life was difficult.

His mother, Raffaela, dealt with daily hardships: a loveless and abusive marriage, the burden of debt, and a life of dread. Though the lessons she taught were harsh, they would drive Lorenzo from the world they shared to the better one she always prayed he would find.

The third woman is his wife, Susan, a gifted editor and his professional champion. Their marriage lasted three decades before her death from lung cancer in 2013. While their upbringings were wildly different, their love and friendship never wavered—and neither did her faith in Lorenzo’s talent and potential as a writer.

Standing with his children near Nonna Maria’s grave on a recent trip to Ischia, Lorenzo realized how much of his life has been shaped by the women who taught him how to look for joy and overcome sorrow. This book is his tribute to them.
“I loved Lorenzo Carcaterra’s Three Dreamers, a poignant, unflinching, and uniquely powerful memoir. Carcaterra paints a fascinating, moving, and page-turning portrait of three unforgettable women, each a product of her time, culture, and even location, whether Hell’s Kitchen in New York City or the beautiful island of Ischia in Italy. But even more than that, through his transcendent talent, honesty, and emotional intelligence, Carcaterra has created a work that explores what women mean to the men in their lives, writ large. This is a book about love, about family, and about forgiveness. Every mother should read this book.”—Lisa Scottoline, #1 New York Times bestselling author

“Lorenzo Carcaterra looks back over his life and writes of the women that shaped his world view. During boyhood summers on Ischia, Lorenzo’s Italian grandmother fed him stories and great meals, which built his imagination. His mother, Raffaella, through grief and hardship, sharpened the edges of his ambition, while his wife, Susan, an important journalist, served as the first reader of his bestselling books and a champion of his work. This deeply personal memoir weaves beauty, hilarity, and loss into a glorious tapestry.” —Adriana Trigiani, New York Times bestselling author

Three Dreamers is a stunning triptych—a plaiting together of the lives of three powerful women who, together, have shaped the life and outlook of one man. This beautiful memoir is Lorenzo Carcaterra’s tribute to the most important women in his life, and a paean to joy, sorrow, and love.”—Elissa Altman, author of Motherland

“With keen perception and even-keeled acceptance, Carcaterra shares the stories of his grandmother, mother, and wife as he traces how their relationships encouraged him to pursue his dream of becoming a writer.”Booklist

“A moving tribute . . . With spare yet resounding prose, Carcaterra follows these women from his childhood home in Hell’s Kitchen to the Italian island of Ischia, to the battles each of them fought at the end of their lives. This emotional narrative isn’t for the fainthearted, but its beauty is a thing to behold.”Publishers Weekly (starred review)
 
“Engaging . . . This reflective memoir gives nuance to the dark world [Carcaterra] portrays in his novels.”Library Journal

“Elegantly and sensitively written, a book that forges strong connections across four generations.”Kirkus Reviews