Once again, the author of Christ in Concrete turns to New Jersey's Little Italy for a story in which the mystic and baldly realistic merge. Paolo, the son of the bricklayer whose death was central to Di Donato's former book, relives his childhood up to the point of the construction accident in which his father--a virile and beautiful man, half peasant, half noble--meets his premature death. The sexual escapades of Paolo's father are tolerated by Paolo's devoted mother, and encourage Paolo in his erotic precocity. While still a child he becomes the lover of a magnificent peasant girl who has driven an elderly husband to murder and suicide. There in the jungle of Hoboken and New York, they conduct an idyllic affair, condoned by their neighbors, a love wholly sensual but free from the stigma of self conscious guilt. But on the day of the accident, Paolo achieves his Christ in Concrete. His father, mangled by the cement and brick to which he gave his life becomes to the boy a symbol of good versus evil, and appalled by the disaster, Paolo assumes the sense of primal guilt which is his birthright. Petro Di Donato evokes a climate of obscure but potent mythology which though in essence is Christian, probes back to an earlier time when birth, death and love spawned a darkly sensual mystery. This story of a pure spirited child's evolution into fearful manhood will be read by some for its sensational realism, by others as a unique example of a novel in which the poetic, the narrative, and the dramatic solidly mesh.