An incredible debut and National Book Award-nominated novel, described as "Memento meets Augie March. Didion meets Hitchcock" by Esquire, from the author of The Volunteer
It is August 15, 1953, the day of a boisterous and unwieldy street carnival in Elephant Park, an Italian immigrant enclave in northern Ohio. As the festivities reach a riotous pitch and billow into the streets, five members of the community labor under the weight of a terrible secret. As these floundering souls collide, one day of calamity and consequence sheds light on a half century of their struggles, their follies, and their pride. And slowly, it becomes clear that buried deep in the hearts of these five exquisitely drawn characters is the long-silenced truth about the crime that twisted each of their worlds.
Cast against the racial, spiritual, and moral tension that has given rise to modern America, this first novel exhumes the secrets lurking in the darkened crevices of the soul of our country. Inventive, explosive, and revelatory, The End introduces Salvatore Scibona as an important new voice in American fiction.
The Italian immigrants in this exceptional debut collide and collapse in a polyphonic narrative that is part novel, part epic prose poem spanning the first half of the 20th century. Costanza Marini, a Cleveland widow who performs abortions of such a high grade that clinicians come take stock of her methods, has decided, among other aspirations, to save Lina, her young seamstress protegee and heiress, from spinsterhood. Intersecting sporadically with the machinations of Mrs. Marini during the sweltering feast of the Assumption is Rocco, the baker of the Italian community of Elephant Park, who is poised to leave his parochial Midwestern enclave for the first time to seek out his lost family. In doing so, he must face America and eventually ends up adrift near the Canadian border while looking for "the New Jersey." Rocco, whose fate, regrettably, is never explicated, inhabits (and narrates) the novel's radiant beginning and is emblematic of both Scibona's calibrated precision and the story's potent humanity. This ravenous prose offers its share of challenges, but Scibona's portrayal of the lost world of Elephant Park is a literary tour de force.