Book Title: Birds of Passage, an Italian Immigrant Coming of Age Story by Joe Giordano
Category: Adult Fiction, 260 pages
Genre: Historical coming of age romance
Publisher: Harvard Square Editions
Release date: October 9, 2015
What turns the gentle mean and the mean brutal? The thirst for wealth? The demand for respect? Vying for a woman? Birds of Passage recalls the Italian immigration experience at the turn of the twentieth-century when New York’s streets were paved with violence and disappointment.
Leonardo Robustelli leaves Naples in 1905 to seek his fortune. Carlo Mazzi committed murder and escaped. Azzura Medina is an American of Italian parents. She’s ambitious but strictly controlled by her mother. Leonardo and Carlo vie for her affection.
Azzura, Leonardo, and Carlo confront con men, Tammany Hall politicians, the longshoreman’s union, Camorra clans, Black Hand extortion, and the Tombs prison.
It is not often that a historical fiction set in two different geographically diverse areas grabs my attention as a reader. I shy away from this genre and try not to render my half baked comments about the same. But when I got an opportunity to try this book, I took it up because it was touted as a ‘rollicking entertainer’.
While the book is in no way light hearted and entertaining, I am glad I picked this one up. I did not expect a mockery or a funny book about the difficulties the immigrants faced. But I did expect a dry humour and wit in the story line. Birds of Passage, on the contrary was a beautiful heavy read. It touches your mind in a way only poignant literature could do. Kudos to the author for being so expressive in his words.
Leonardo and Carlo are Italian men, both reaching America at the turn of the twentieth century, leaving Italy for their own, diverse, individual reasons. Their paths cross in the country they reached in search of fortune and anonymity. While romance is in the air, even that is plagued by politics and wealth differences. Two young men, desperate to succeed, approach life in different ways, stopping at nothing. What happens when they are drawn into the world of crime, mafia and corrupted politics forms the rest of the story.
The language is powerful, the scenes are shocking and memorable. And as a reader who knows little about both the countries that are involved, I saw this book as a glimpse into the past of the Italian Immigrants in America. While most events that transpired in this book might seem improbable now, history has enough proof to show us they happened.
Read this book if you are prepared to know how hard it is to totally come out of a culture and country into a diverse, shocking, whole new world.
Meet the author:
Joe Giordano was born in Brooklyn. His father and grandparents immigrated to New York from Naples. Joe and his wife, Jane have lived in Greece, Brazil, Belgium and the Netherlands. They now live in Texas with their shih tzu Sophia. Joe's stories have appeared in more than sixty magazines including Bartleby Snopes, The Newfound Journal, and The Summerset Review.
PRICE: $6.16 for Kindle, $22.95 for Paperback
BOOK LINKS: http://www.amazon.com/dp/1941861083