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Book details
  • Genre:FICTION
  • SubGenre:Biographical
  • Language:English
  • Pages:328
  • eBook ISBN:9781682220757
  • Paperback ISBN:9781682220023

Stumbling Blocks and Stepping Stones

A Novel of Coming of Age Catholic

by Sebastian Gerard

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In the years just after the end of World War II Paolo Bruni and Nicola “Nunzi” D’Annunzio are two goombahs coming of age sexually in an Italian-American neighborhood in Rochester, N.Y. They are the first in their immigrant families offered the prospect of a college education when they are both are admitted to St. Issac Jogues Jesuit High, a new school founded in their city in 1954 by the renowned teaching order of the Society of Jesus.
Stumbling Blocks and Stepping Stones is told largely through the reminiscences of Paolo Bruni and is focused on his friendship with Nicola "Nunzi" D'Annunzio over four decades. It contrasts the insular world of the ethnic neighborhood, one littered with “stumbling blocks” of gangs and ethnic rivalries that might undo their stepping up in the changing world of post-war urbanizing America. In their encounter with the complex and corporatized Catholicism of the Jesuits, the almost militaristic-evangelical “army” of the Roman Catholic Church the serious and athletic Paolo, and the prankish and satirical Nunzi, each in his way becomes estranged from their faith. Paolo and Nunzi step and stumble forward with often hilarious and erotic escapades, athletic achievements and misadventures, surprising theological perceptions and tragic personal events in a time and place that not only shaped them, but which their venerated educators encouraged them to “set afire.”
About the author
Sebastian Gerard is a fictional name (actually the first names of his Italian-American grandfathers) for the fiction writing of a retired university professor who is author of over a dozen fiction and non-fiction books and hundreds of articles, essays and scripts. For background for his writing he has traveled, lived and worked in over seventy countries over the past forty years. Gerard's is also author of For Goodness Sake: A Novel of the Afterlife of Suzie Wong and is also author of a screenplay based on that book. Literary reviews, other publications, musical compositions and other information about Sebastian Gerard is available online at UrbisMedia-Ltd.com.