By Vincent Panella
The year is 1907. Santo Regina, already a widower at age 32, is skeptical of the Fasci movement taking hold in his native Sicily, where the peasants are organizing to demand better treatment from the landowners. But he is intrigued by Don Vito Cascio Ferro, a former landowner–turned-agitator with assumed ties to the local Mafia. Vito is not a typical Mafioso, however. He looks like a religious hermit, tall and gaunt with a long gray beard, and he rails against the concept of private property. When his own attempt at activism fails, Santo joins the stream of men immigrating to America for work, leaving his young son and teenage daughter behind in the care of his mother. In Louisiana, Santo encounters the same oppressive working conditions that he faced in Sicily—as well as bosses willing to use violence to enforce the status quo.
About The Author
Vincent Panella is the author of the memoir, The Other Side: Growing up Italian in America. His novel, Cutter’s Island, about an incident in the early life of Julius Caesar, received a ForeWord award, and was called by author Steven Press field, “. . . a perfect flawless gem.“ He is a Pushcart nominee in short fiction, and Primo Magazine said of his story collection, Lost Hearts, that it “. . .calls to be included in every Italian-American’s library.” Vincent is a graduate of the Iowa Writer’s Workshop and the former Writing Specialist at Vermont Law School. He grew up in Queens and lives in Marlboro, Vermont with his wife, Susan Sichel.
Panella’s prose is concise and insightful, capturing not only the era in which it is set, but also the contemporary worldviews of his characters. He largely avoids the more clichéd depictions of the Mafia in the United States, presenting instead a less formal, more organic outgrowth of the cultural upheavals present in Italy and America during this period.
At its best moments, the volume calls to mind the work of 20th-century Italian novelists like Cesare Pavese and Leonardo Sciascia, wherein the convictions of a moral man are tested by an invariably amoral environment.
– Kirkus Reviews
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. Cutter’s Island is the story of Caesar’s liberation and revenge
The twenty-three stories in Lost Hearts comprise a rich and candid account of growing up and growing old in Sicily and America.
The Other Side: Growing up Italian in America
The Other Side is Vincent Panella’s personal journey, from rejection of his family to a realization that he cannot escape or deny his origins.
The First Glass
Sicilian Dreams, a novel by Vincent Panella, New York: Bordighera Press 2020. Reviewed by Nino Provenzano
Sicilian Dreams, a novel by Vincent Panella, New York: Bordighera Press 2020. Reviewed by Nino Provenzano Sicilia Parra Bi-annual Newsletter of Arba Sicula: An International Organization that Promotes the Language and Culture of Sicily Volume XXXII, No. 2, Fall 2020...
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