His birth certificate reads ""Calogiro de Marco Chiarocielo,"" but on Bay 24th Street in Brooklyn in 1935, he's Choliy Carcelli, the new kid on the Jewish-Italian block. As ""slow,"" street-dumb Cholly sort of remembers it, his precariously balanced, storytelling father sometimes finds WPA-type employment (the water at Coney Island and under the Brooklyn Bridge needs measuring) but finally gets desperate enough to put on spats and join lu zi Luigi, rich uncle, in nefarious doings that lead to bodies in the street, a satchel holding $10,000, policemen, lawyers, and going crazy. And Cholly remembers his mother, who constantly fears l'investigata from Home Relief, disappears into rest homes, and reappears to cook and worry and cook some more. And Iggy. Above all, there's Iggy Lazarus from next door--older than Cholly, smarter, disposed to calling people ""bourgeois biscuit!"" and inevitably Spain-bound and doomed as the Thirties race along. Morreale seems to have fashioned a barely fictionalized memoir, and his labors on behalf of sidewalk simplicity and accurate emotional impressionism deserve discreet applause. But a realistically scattered focus means no drama and no fiesh--Iggy's too sketchy, too much the Odets stock figure, to mourn--and Cholly's persistently naive perceptions (he hears ""anarchist"" and thinks ""Anna kissed!"") come up cute instead of poignant. The adjective ""evocative"" was made for such as this, with the Lone Ranger hawking Silvercup on the radio and Sicilian Christmas dinner warming on the melting pot; so what adjective's the opposite of ""compelling""?