8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
A rich and interesting family saga,
This review is from: Elizabeth Street (Paperback)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Laurie Fabiano's cross-generational tale of familial challenges, social crises and cultural contrasts is an artful blend of fact and fiction that takes the reader all the way from a small and close-knit Southern Italian village in 1890 to the sprawling and crowded streets of Hoboken, New Jersey, in 1918. Written slowly over a ten-year period, Ms Fabiano was inspired to tell this story after listening to her grandmother and other senior members of her Italian-American family recall the extraordinary experiences they and their forebears had endured as they tried to settle in their new country. In researching the story carefully, and preserving many telling little real-life details, the author has produced a story that, while staying true to her own family's saga, also says something interesting and enlightening about the immigrant experience in general (as well as the evolution of organised crime) during this period in history.
Without wishing to give too much away in terms of how the narrative develops (the amazon synopsis above provides the salient information), I must say I found this a very absorbing and vivid story, full of engaging personal interactions as well as very dramatic and disturbing events, that drew me in very quickly and kept me interested right to the end. Although the odd phrase here and there struck me as somewhat lazy and imprecise cliches posing as meaningful insights (e.g. 'Even from this distance she could feel his warmth and see beyond his eyes'), the prose style is generally pleasingly unobtrusive, moving the action on with a deft economy that keeps the focus on the characters (especially the strong and well-drawn female ones) and their various concerns.