EMPTY HANDS by Saverio Strati


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In Calabria (the heel of Italy's boot), hell smells of olive oil, granite illwheels and of lives destroyed by endless drudgery, as this good novel of a young Italian's dream of America, America so well shows. At twelve, Emilio is given by his mother to shepherds to earn his livelihood. He fails and, after coming to know some rigands intimately, goes home only to be again given away by his mother. On the farm of Michele, Emilio works eighteen hours daily in the orchards and at the olive press. He falls in love with Michele's daughter Margherita and, during the next five years, his fixed idea is to make a fortune in America, return, marry Margherita, and rescue his mother's lost properties. Emilio is too blind to see that his mother thinks he's a clod, and that she is not to be trusted with money he hands over to her. This will deprive him of his passage to America and bring a raging end to innocence... The author leans more on narrative than drama, but that's just about right for this story.

Pub Date: Feb. 6th, 1964
Publisher: belard-Schuman