Elephant Park, Ohio, 1953. A neighborhood of Italian immigrants prepares for the annual Feast of the Assumption. Local baker Rocco LaGrassa, having just learned that his son has died in a Korean POW camp, closes shop and sets out in search for the wife and two other sons that abandoned him 17 years earlier.
Thus begins The End, the epic, labyrinthine debut novel by Salvatore Scibona and a finalist for the 2008 National Book Award. At 8 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 14, Scibona will read from his work for Washington University’s Writing Program in Arts & Sciences.
The event, sponsored as part of The Writing Program’s fall Reading Series, is free and open to the public and takes place in Hurst Lounge, Room 201, Duncker Hall.
Duncker Hall is located at the northwest corner of Brookings Quadrangle. A reception and book signing will immediately follow. For more information, call (314) 935-7130 or e-mail David Schuman at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Though largely set over the course of a single day, The End vaults forward and backward though the previous seven decades to explore the history of Elephant Park as well as the entangled lives of a handful of festival-goers. In addition to LaGrassa, there is the elderly abortionist Constanza Marini; Lina and Ciccio Mazzone, the mother and son over whom Marini has watched for years; and a shadowy jeweler whose crime binds them all inextricably together.
Author Annie Dillard praised The End as, “a masterful novel set amid racial upheaval in 1950s America, during the flight of second-generation immigrants from their once-necessary ghettos. Full of wisdom, consequence and grace, Salvatore Scibona’s radiant debut brims with the promise of a remarkable literary career, of which The End is only the beginning.”
Raised in Strongsville, Ohio, Scibona earned a bachelor’s degree from St. John’s College in Santa Fe, N.M., and a master’s degree from the Iowa Writers Workshop at the University of Iowa.
His work has been published in the Threepenny Review, Best New American Voices 2004 and The Pushcart Book of Short Stories: The Best Stories from a Quarter-Century of the Pushcart Prize.
Scibona lives in Provincetown, Mass., where he works as writing coordinator at the Fine Arts Work Center.