The End

Finalist, National Book Awards 2008 for Fiction

The End book cover, by Salvatore Scion
ISBN 9781555974985
Graywolf Press
Salvatore Scibona

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A small, incongruous man receives an excruciating piece of news. His son has died in a P.O.W. camp in Korea. It is August 15, 1953, the day of a tumultuous street carnival in Elephant Park, an Italian immigrant enclave in Ohio. The man is Rocco LaGrassa, and his many years of dogged labor, paternal devotion, and steadfast Christian faith are about to come to a crashing end. He is the first of many exquisitely drawn characters we meet in the carnival crowd, each of whom will come to their own unique conclusion on this day.

The End follows them across the seven preceding decades—an elderly abortionist, an enigmatic drapery seamstress, a teenage boy, a jeweler—and dramatically into the heart of a crime that will twist all of their lives. Against a background of immigration, broken family loyalties and racial hostility, we at last return to August 15, l953, and see everything Rocco saw—and vastly more—through the eyes of the people in the crowd.

Judges Citation

Against a backdrop of immigration, racial hostility, broken loyalties and modest dreams, this bold-hearted and masterful first novel centers on a single day—August 15, 1953—in an Italian neighborhood in an Ohio community. Salvatore Scibona intertwines searing portraits of six key characters whose tragic stories are leavened by the beauty of the author's craftsmanship, his structural dexterity and his daring wit.

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