An affecting portrait of an artistically gifted family.

Maestro Satriano

DeAngelo’s (Germs on Our Mind, 2005) debut historical novel follows the tempestuous life of a brilliant Italian musician.

Forlorn after his wife dies during childbirth, Antonio Satriano decides to temporarily leave his five children in Italy with relatives and start a new life in 1882 America. A music professor and a composer, he lands in New York City with the intention of finding work and sending for his kids after three years. Meanwhile, his son, Pietro, establishes a reputation for himself as a virtuosic cornet player back in Italy and is awarded a professorship at Milan’s Royal Academy of Music. He soon leaves behind a promising career to meet his father in Kansas City, Missouri. Pietro does achieve considerable recognition for his musical prowess, but he repeatedly tarnishes his celebrity with public scandal: his first marriage quickly ends in divorce, and his second is to a mentally unstable 15-year-old. That relationship also ends—but only after Pietro finds himself in jail as a result of a raucous domestic dispute and is humiliated in open court. He weds a third time but later crashes an automobile while chauffeuring his mistress about town. Pietro is also preoccupied with vigilantly responding to his father’s growing alcoholism. Antonio’s problem becomes so ungovernable that his sons are reduced to burying his instruments so he can’t pawn them to buy more gin. DeAngelo tells the family’s story from multiple first-person perspectives: Pietro’s; his third wife, Musa’s; and Antonio’s. She clearly has a deep affection for her characters—Antonio and Pietro are representations of her real-life great-great-grandfather and great-great-uncle, respectively—and she draws them sympathetically. At the same time, she never shies away from presenting an unvarnished depiction of their foibles. Also, she provides an illuminating window into the venomous prejudices that Italian immigrants faced in the United States in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Overall, it’s a touching, often comic tale of cultural identity, passion, and artistic inspiration.

An affecting portrait of an artistically gifted family. 

Pub Date: June 16, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-692-71663-2

Page Count: 200

Publisher: CreateSpace

Review Posted Online: Oct. 17, 2016

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A first novel, this is also a first person account of Scout's (Jean Louise) recall of the years that led to the ending of a mystery, the breaking of her brother Jem's elbow, the death of her father's enemy — and the close of childhood years. A widower, Atticus raises his children with legal dispassion and paternal intelligence, and is ably abetted by Calpurnia, the colored cook, while the Alabama town of Maycomb, in the 1930's, remains aloof to their divergence from its tribal patterns. Scout and Jem, with their summer-time companion, Dill, find their paths free from interference — but not from dangers; their curiosity about the imprisoned Boo, whose miserable past is incorporated in their play, results in a tentative friendliness; their fears of Atticus' lack of distinction is dissipated when he shoots a mad dog; his defense of a Negro accused of raping a white girl, Mayella Ewell, is followed with avid interest and turns the rabble whites against him. Scout is the means of averting an attack on Atticus but when he loses the case it is Boo who saves Jem and Scout by killing Mayella's father when he attempts to murder them. The shadows of a beginning for black-white understanding, the persistent fight that Scout carries on against school, Jem's emergence into adulthood, Calpurnia's quiet power, and all the incidents touching on the children's "growing outward" have an attractive starchiness that keeps this southern picture pert and provocative. There is much advance interest in this book; it has been selected by the Literary Guild and Reader's Digest; it should win many friends.

Pub Date: July 11, 1960

ISBN: 0060935464

Page Count: 323

Publisher: Lippincott

Review Posted Online: Oct. 7, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 1960

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While a few weeks ago it seemed as if Praeger would have a two month lead over Dutton in their presentation of this Soviet best seller, both the "authorized" edition (Dutton's) and the "unauthorized" (Praeger's) will appear almost simultaneously. There has been considerable advance attention on what appears to be as much of a publishing cause celebre here as the original appearance of the book in Russia. Without entering into the scrimmage, or dismissing it as a plague on both your houses, we will limit ourselves to a few facts. Royalties from the "unauthorized" edition will go to the International Rescue Committee; Dutton with their contracted edition is adhering to copyright conventions. The Praeger edition has two translators and one of them is the translator of Doctor Zhivago Dutton's translator, Ralph Parker, has been stigmatized by Praeger as "an apologist for the Soviet regime". To the untutored eye, the Dutton translation seems a little more literary, the Praeger perhaps closer to the rather primitive style of the original. The book itself is an account of one day in the three thousand six hundred and fifty three days of the sentence to be served by a carpenter, Ivan Denisovich Shukhov. (Solzhenitsyn was a political prisoner.) From the unrelenting cold without, to the conditions within, from the bathhouse to the latrine to the cells where survival for more than two weeks is impossible, this records the hopeless facts of existence as faced by thousands who went on "living like this, with your eyes on the ground". The Dutton edition has an excellent introduction providing an orientation on the political background to its appearance in Russia by Marvin Kalb. All involved in its publication (translators, introducers, etc.) claim for it great "artistic" values which we cannot share, although there is no question of its importance as a political and human document and as significant and tangible evidence of the de-Stalinization program.

Pub Date: June 15, 1963

ISBN: 0451228146

Page Count: 181

Publisher: Praeger

Review Posted Online: Oct. 5, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 1963

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