THE END BY SALVATORE SCIBONA

SOURCE REVIEW COPY FROM JONATHAN CAPE .OUT NOV 4

Salvatore Scibona is an american writer ,he was named on the recent New Yorker twenty under forty list .He grew up in Cleveland Ohio and went to the creative writing course at university of Iowa ,he is from an Italian american family

The End is his debut novel it is set in his native Ohio in the early fifties ,well 15th august 1953 mainly .we focus on Elephant park an Italian community we open meeting Rocco the local baker who has just received word that his son has died in a Korean P.O.W CAMP  ,the day is Assumption day a carnival is due as the novel progress we see Rocco meet people and also we are sent back to Rocco’s youth in Scilly .We see poverty community and also a crime ,we meet a number of characters a seamstress ,a jeweller .as Rocco comes to terms with his loss whilst the is this carnival and other things happening in his life .

He was Five feet one inch tall in his street shoes ,bearlike in his round and Jowly face ,hulking in his chest and shoulders ,nearly just as stout around the middle but hollow in the hips and lacking a proper can to sit on (though he was hardly ever known to sit ) and wee at the ankles and girlish at his tiny feet ,a man in the shape of a lightbulb .

the opening and we meet Rocco .

This is a stunning debut novel ,assured with a unique voice ,he has been compared to the greats Joyce ,Faulkner and Bellow ,some are deserved, setting most of your events on a single day will always be compared with Joyce but in reality they are two completely different books this is about a community .Bellow is probably nearest to him of the comparisons in a lot of ways it is like bellows early books ,like seize thew day which follows a similar aged man over a day I wonder if part of this comes from stories Salvatore heard growing up around the dinner table .The characters in this book are beautifully drawn and realistic.Its nice to read a book about the Italian american community that avoids the obvious clichés of that community .He richly deserves to be on the new yorker list and also for this to be a national book award shortlisted book in 2008 .This is like a Edward hopper painting come to life or the kiss photo that is so famous it evokes the fifties and the struggles of that time for a working class community post WW2 struggling with another war .

10 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. William Rycroft
    Oct 28, 2010 @ 11:00:55

    Heard some very good things about this one but it’s sometimes difficult to separate the genuinely stunning debut from the all too common ‘stunning debut’. This sounds like the real deal though. Thanks Stu.

    Reply

  2. amymckie
    Oct 28, 2010 @ 13:35:41

    Wow, a big name that I hadn’t heard of. Thanks for the review.

    Reply

  3. Sarah
    Oct 29, 2010 @ 12:04:36

    I love the quote. It says a lot about his writing style, all good. You continue to surprise me with your ability to locate obscure (to me) novels, and you never seem to pick duds!

    Reply

  4. Jessica
    Oct 30, 2010 @ 17:34:33

    Im quite interested in this one and will fit into my American reading. Funny as Housekeeping arrived for me today and it mentioned on the back that the author Marilynne Robinson teaches at the Iowa writers workshop.

    Reply

  5. Trackback: OCTOBER ROUND UP « Winstonsdad's Blog
  6. Paul
    Nov 10, 2010 @ 02:58:47

    Sounds interesting. I think I may give it a review. I need to read a bit more from my compatriots.

    Reply

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