THE WINE CELLAR by Edward Bonetti


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Five stories and a novella, but the stories shouldn't get in the way. Though cleanly and tightly written, they're the sort of hollow, sinister exercises in repression that have nowhere to end but in sudden violence--predictable, pat, and irritating. ""The Wine Cellar"" is another story entirely, the post-Pearl Harbor traumas of an Italian-American family presided over by papa Bertocci, whose heart attacks keep him from working but not from tyrannizing his unmarriageable daughters, his restless sons, his superstitious wife. Disturbed and disoriented by the war's shattering of all prospects, Bertocci resolves to make wine with the reluctant assistance of Navy-bound son Antonio: a fine zinfandel as insurance for the future and a link to the past. Bonetti's on sure, textured ground here, capturing the taste of the grapes and the baked lamb's head, and the smell of the envies and angers (""I spit in your blood"") that accompany the process of natural selection among immigrants--the young and gifted who go forward, the old and unlucky who are left behind.

Pub Date: May 1st, 1977
Publisher: Viking