Other books byAnthony Giardina
Richie Palumbo, the most prosaic of men, gets lost one night in 1969 while driving home with his family. He finds himself in the town of Norumbega—hidden, remote, and gorgeous, at the far edges of Boston’s western suburbs. He sees a venerable old house and, without quite knowing why, decides he must have it. The repercussions of Richie’s wild dream to own a house in this town lead to a forty-year odyssey for his family. For his son, Jack, Norumbega becomes a sexual playground—until he meets one ungraspable girl and begins a lifelong pursuit of her. Joannie, Richie’s daughter, finds that the challenges of living in Norumbega encourage her to pursue the contemplative life. For Stella, Richie’s wife, life in Norumbega leads to surprising growth as both a sexual and a spiritual being. Norumbega Park—by Anthony Giardina, the critically acclaimed author of White Guys—is about class and parental dreams, sex and spirituality, the way visions conflict with stubborn reality, and a family’s ability to open up for others a world they can never fully grasp for themselves.
After graduating from high school, in the early 1970s, Billy Mogavero is the only one of a tight-knit group of five friends who didn't make it out of Winship, a hardscrabble town outside of Boston. Twenty years later, the other four--who have made their way, to varying degrees--decide to return to Winship to visit Billy, once their galvanizing alpha male and now a paint salesman who lives at home with his mentally handicapped brother. Their reunion sparks a rapid-fire chain of events as Billy finally makes the social leap his friends have spent their lives making--to suburban respectability and conformity. Enthralled by the rapidity of Billy's climb--his marriage to an equally ambitious and tough Irishwoman, Maureen, included--his best friend, Timmy O'Kane, sees in Billy's protean character and masterful adoption of middle-class norms a vital and necessary critique of his cozy existence--paid for by his wealthy wife--in a privileged Boston suburb. But when Billy, Maureen, and their unborn child are victims of a drive-by shooting in which only Billy survives, Timmy is ensnared in a series of events that threaten to spin entirely out of his control. His complicity in the aftermath of the tragedy threatens the hardwon security of his leafy, suburban idyll--but is also strangely and seductively liberating. Inspired by actual events, Giardina has created a masterful and explosive social novel about the price of the American dream.
Country of a Marriage
The Country of Marriage is a window into the lives of men as they confront the darkness at the heart of domestic existence. And with this collection of stories, Anthony Giardina takes his place among the finest writers of short fiction in America today. His work has appeared in Harper's, Esquire, GQ, and The New York Times Magazine and has been showcased alongside the work of such contemporary giants as Tobias Wolff and Robert Stone. He is that rare artist whose stories will endure.The Country of Marriage shows, with frightening clarity, that the most ordinary lives are fraught with secret dreams and frustrations that can both support and sabotage everyday love. Giardina looks at our relationships--with an eye capable of clinical precision but never devoid of compassion--and gives voice to the emotions that lie unexplored and unexpressed beneath their seemingly placid surface.In "Days with Cecilia,'' a highly articulate shop teacher reveals by attrition the sexual secret of his marriage. In "The Lake," a young fireman confronts his complicity in the murder of his best friend's wife. And in "The Films of Richard Egan," the aborted career of an almost-was film star finds its echo in a suburban boy's life.These are emotional landscapes at once familiar and unsettling, with characters who are instantly recognizable but endlessly surprising. Brilliantly observed and masterfully told, The Country of Marriage is an unforgettable montage of lives of dwindling promise, of stubborn hope, of emotional atrophy, and of the courage to take root in the indifferent soil of modern existence.