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Coney Island Dreams (A Short Story from The Atlantic for Kindle) ('The Atlantic' Fiction for Kindle) [Kindle Edition]

Ann Hood

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Book Description

Ann Hood’s Coney Island Dreams, exclusive for Kindle, follows Carmine Rimaldi, a young man who had everything. No one could understand Carmine would leave home for Coney Island. In his hometown, a small village of Italian immigrants in the middle of Rhode Island, no one saw what Carmine saw—that beyond this place lay opportunity. To Carmine, Coney Island was ocean and beach and glittering lights, and all of it was calling to him. This was in the summer of 1918. He was about to turn 18 years old and had just gotten engaged to Anna Zito, arguably the most beautiful girl in the neighborhood. But then there was Coney Island, and Eva Peretsky, and her slender hips and long legs, and her breasts that seemed to be fighting the fabric that held them in, and her high heels. And red lipstick. And then there was the war, and Carmine’s best friend Angelo Mazzonni, and the strange day that Angelo’s head had exploded. Opened up like a melon, spitting gray juice and pieces of bone and flesh all over Carmine.

Ann Hood is the author of 12 books, including the bestselling novel, The Knitting Circle, and the memoir, Comfort: A Journey Through Grief, which was named one of the top ten non fiction books of 2008 by Entertainment Weekly and was a New York Times Editor's Choice. Her other novels include: Waiting to Vanish (Bantam, 1988), Three-Legged Horse (Bantam, 1989), Something Blue (Bantam, 1991), Places to Stay the Night (Doubleday, 1993), The Properties of Water (Doubleday, 1995), and Ruby (Picador, 1998). She has also written a memoir, Do Not Go Gentle: My Search for Miracles in a Cynical Time (Picador, 1999); a book on the craft of writing, Creating Character Emotions (Story Press, 1998); and a collection of short stories, An Ornithologist’s Guide to Life (Norton, 2004). Ann has won a Best American Spiritual Writing Award, the Paul Bowles Prize for Short Fiction, and two Pushcart Prizes. She now lives in Providence, RI with her husband and their children. Her new novel, The Red Thread, was published in May 2010 by WW Norton.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 84 KB
  • Print Length: 21 pages
  • Publisher: The Atlantic (30 April 2012)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B007Z95A6I
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • : Not Enabled
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #1,360,993 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 2.0 out of 5 stars  1 review
1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Smashed Dreams and Crushed Hopes 11 Oct. 2010
By Suzanne Fyhrie Parrott - Published on
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
This story revolves around a young boy of 17, whose innocence is quickly replaced by lust and anger. It is 1918, and Carmine Rimaldi is naturally curious about the "fairer sex", and when his girlfriend offers herself to him openly, he jumps at the chance. What happens is he tastes the forbidden fruit and wants more. Gone is the innocence and professions of love; gone from his mind is the innocent 15-year-old Anna Zito. He wants more and will do it with anyone.

As he heads to Coney Island, he finds the money flowing like honey. Working hard he is able to make more money that he ever dreamed. He is happy and writes to Anna telling her he misses her and they will be married soon. This is a lie. In fact, he hadn't thought of her since arriving in Coney Island. Then comes Eva - a young widow, whose longing and sadness pull Carmine willingly into her bed.

After two days of sex with this beautiful blond, she tells him to leave. She fears he, too, will die in the war, so she will not see him anymore. What is ironic is he becomes the victim, being used and tossed aside, and he didn't like the feeling. He wasn't in control and had no way to get it back - not with Eva anyway.

Despondent, he follows his friend and enlists. Before he ships out, he enacts his power over his "fiancé", Anna Zito - aggressively using positions he learned and liked from Eva. Although she protests, he takes her no as yes, and forces her, even forgetting to "pull out" in time. She is horrified she will be come pregnant, but he lies, telling her "gravity" will remove the seed.

In the end this young man, after seeing his friend die during the war, and losing the "lust of his life", turns this inward anger on his family and loved ones - despising women.

The ending is so abrupt I had to back peddle to see if I skipped a page. While the writing was adequate, I felt the subject matter depressing, containing no hope or romance. It basically showed the fast-paced downward spiral of a man who has to live out the consequence of his choices. The book would be more appropriately called "Smashed Dreams and Crushed Hopes".
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