CHRIST IN CONCRETE by Pietro di Donato


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The selection of this as one of the dual selections of the Book of the Month for September will bring it more forcibly to public attention than its sordid subject master would, ordinarily, achieve. At that, 'ware your customers -- it is a shocking book for the tender-minded. The short story which served as a springboard was selected by O'Brien as the best short story of 1938. And that story forms the first chapter of the novel. It is a grueling but forceful picture of Italian immigrants in a large American city. Paul, at twelve, is faced with the job of supporting his mother and seven brothers and sisters, after the tragic death of his father, who was a bricklayer. The Job is the theme of the book, as he learns his father's trade and carries on. Occasional relief is afforded in scenes of gaiety, in portrayal of characters, simple, kindly, crude, primitive, unfaltering in their devotion to their God. The style makes the reading difficult at times, for it is turgid, impassioned of consciousness, at times brutal and violent, but for the most part genuine... There is an interesting slant in the story of the author, himself an artisan, and drawing on his own story and background for the substance of the novel. A book born out of the urgencies of trade toward creative self expression, it is certain to be ""taken up"" by people who want novels with authentic social significance. The preface by Dorothy Canfield Fisher will give it a certain seal of approval in quarters where it might not otherwise be read.

Pub Date: Aug. 21st, 1939
ISBN: 0451214218
Publisher: Bobbs, Merrill