Cutter’s Island: Caesar in Captivity
This is a revenge tale based on a little known event in the life of Julius Caesar. When he was twenty five, Caesar was captured by pirates and held on an island for forty days. The story of Caesar’s liberation and revenge is briefly summarized by historians, but Cutter’s Island is a retelling in Caesar’s voice and in the context of his world.
The twenty-three stories in Lost Hearts comprise a rich and candid account of growing up and growing old in Sicily and America. The stories may be read separately, but they are also linked. Original Sin, the opening story set in rural Sicily in 1900, pushes a father-son conflict to its tragic conclusion. The protagonist, Peter Marino, emigrates to America, where his descendants – and especially his grandson, Charlie – experience the conflicts, hopes and the needs that add up to the human condition.
The Other Side: Growing Up Italian in America
The Other Side is also Vincent Panella’s personal journey, from rejection of his family to a realization that he cannot escape or deny his origins. The final recognition emerges after an extended visit to Italy, where he comes to know those in his family who remained behind. Thus Vincent Panella has written a book of journeys: a family’s journey from southern Italy to Hell’s Kitchen and the New York suburbs, a young man’s journey to a sense of identity. The story is given an added dimension by the author’s wife, Susan Sichel: Through her own photographs, and through her selection of photographs from family albums, Ms. Sichel further evokes the life and times of three generations of an immigrant family.