Monday, August 11, 2008
Currently Recommending - The End by Salvatore Scibona
The End by Salvatore Scibona is an introspective stroll through the “old neighborhood”. I predict this novel will quickly be featured by independent bookstores, added to university reading lists, discussed by book clubs, and eventually join the canon of great literature articulating the American Dream. It may well be the next Pulitzer Prize winner. Of course, I am totally biased, since Scibona is a former student of mine. He was a high school prodigy and a college wordsmith. Since his time at the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, his energy has been channeled into crafting the characters – a 93 year old widow, Mrs. Marini, the baker Rocco LaGrassa and the other residents of Elephant Park. The End is a character driven examination of the growing tensions in Little Italy – the Cleveland neighborhood of Scibona’s grandparents’. In fact, the neighborhood itself is a character, bucking under the pressures of racial tensions and the unwelcome evolution of tradition taking place in immigrant communities all over America in the mid 1950s. Clevelanders will hear the strains of the paper-rags man hawking in the streets and smell the bakery sweets prepared for the annual Feast of the Assumption, the culminating event of the novel. Universally, readers will empathize with the haunting sense of loss propelling each character to his or her inevitable end. I celebrate Salvatore Scibona’s talent and recommend placing The End at the top of your summer reading list.
website for The End