Saturday, November 08, 2008

84. "Unto the Daughters" - Karen Tintori

From Sicily to America, the Costa family brought old country traditions and beliefs to Detroit in the early 1900s. The author, Karen Tintori, knew about her grandmother's curses against the evil eye and folk tales about prayers, but she didn't know about the major skeleton in her family's closet: the murder of her great-aunt Frances by her own brothers in an honor killing.

A true story, Tintori digs through her family's records for facts, then writes in a fictional style. While I liked this style of writing, her choice to switch from the past to the "present" seemed awkward and forced at times, like she only wrote that chapter because her editor told her to fill in the information. I would have liked to try it in sequential order because I admired her writing.

An amazing look at Sicilian and early Italian immigrants' lives with the haunting of Frances Costa throughout the book in its imagery and dedication to details.

3.5 out of 5.0 Detroits.


Connected the dots 79 to 80 (Moses led the Hebrews) to 81 (Operation Shylock - where Moses Bellybutton is the "reverse nemesis" of Philip Roth), then to 82 (A Thread of Grace - how Italy helped the Jews during WWII), to 83 (Italian organized crime) to 84 (organized crime with Detroit immigrants).

I'm stuck. When I'm stuck, I look at my leaning tower of books and close my eyes to choose. The game begins anew.


Pete said...

That's quite a family she has - Tintori wrote another book about the Cherry Mine disaster in Illinois in 1909, when several hundred coalminers died. Her grandfather was one of the survivors.

Pete said...

And if you still need to connect the dot, check your pile for Jeffrey Eugenides' Middlesex, which involves Greek immigrants in Detroit.

Kristin Dodge said...

Pete... read it, loved it. I think my review is way back in 2006.

Ben said...

I like your rating method! Reminds me that 3.0/5.0 Oranges and 3.0/5.0 Apples are not the same.