A stirring historic novel set in Depression-era Brooklyn, "The El" weaves an unforgettable family saga.
In the shadow of the elevated train (called "The El," for short), a loud, lusty Italian-American clan resides: Poppa, the kindly patriarch; Bridget, his loving wife and mother of their six grown children; Rosanna, their eldest, who is married to Tony, an evil, dangerous drunk; Kewpie, their nubile teenage daughter and Tiger, their scrappy ten-year old son. A stark drama quickly unfolds as a terrible secret is revealed.
Told through the eyes of a quirky, colorful array of characters, the Paradisos struggle through seasons of joy, loss and desire, and experience simple delights. Here, the ordinary becomes extraordinary. It is a place of unconditional and unrequited love, where the unimaginable is indeed possible and the whims of a violent alcoholic threaten to destroy the idyllic applecart of the family’s existence.
"The El" is simultaneously homey and horrific, innocent and erotic, magical and shocking. It is a complicated mosaic of light and dark, full of savory flavors and vivid, memorable images.
If Pete Hamill and Joyce Carol Oates could have a literary lovechild together, it would be "The El"...with a bit of "50 Shades of Grey" thrown in for good measure.