Birds of Passage
An Italian Immigrant Coming of Age Story
by Joe Giordano
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Genre: Historical coming of age romance
Publisher: Harvard Square Editions
Release date: October 9, 2015
Content Rating: PG (PG because there is mild profanity, no sex scenes, some violence.)
What turns the gentle mean and the mean brutal? The thirst for wealth? The demand for respect? Vying for a woman? Birds of Passage recalls the Italian immigration experience at the turn of the twentieth-century when New York’s streets were paved with violence and disappointment.
Leonardo Robustelli leaves Naples in 1905 to seek his fortune. Carlo Mazzi committed murder and escaped. Azzura Medina is an American of Italian parents. She’s ambitious but strictly controlled by her mother. Leonardo and Carlo vie for her affection.
Azzura, Leonardo, and Carlo confront con men, Tammany Hall politicians, the longshoreman’s union, Camorra clans, Black Hand extortion, and the Tombs prison.
The Kindle copy of Birds of Passage will be free to download for five days starting Saturday, November 7th through Wednesday, November 11th.
“With Birds of Passage, Joe Giordano delivers a rollicking, wholly entertaining take on the Italian immigrant story. His rich cast of characters arrives seeking the usual: Money, honor, love, respect, a decent shot at the pursuit of happiness. But things get complicated fast as they plunge into the rough-and-tumble world of rackets, scams, and politics of early 20th-century New York City. Giordano serves up a thick, satisfying slice of the entire era in all its raw and brutal glory.” – Ben Fountain, author of Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk, soon to be a major motion picture directed by Ang Lee.
It is my pleasure to welcome Joe Giordano, author of Birds of Passage, An Italian Immigrant Coming of Age Story, to Room With Books.
How and when did you decide, or discover, that you were to be a writer?
I started writing about ten years ago. My wife Jane and I lived in Greece, and we loved it. The sense of history I felt inspired me to try my hand at an historical fiction novel about the Persian Wars: Marathon, Thermopylae, and Salamis. My prose was terrible; I needed to learn how to write. I took some University of Texas classes and began to compose short stories. I received a truckload of rejections; the first acceptance came after three years. Since then, over seventy of my stories have been published.
Describe your writing process.
I write every day. Mornings are best. Unlike real life, fiction must be believable. That drives my research. The innovative idea can’t be programmed, it just happens. A new story line might surface through an offhand comment, a photograph, or a memory. I read to stimulate ideas
What was the genesis of Birds of Passage, An Italian Immigrant Coming of Age Story?
My father was an immigrant from Naples as were all my grandparents. I’m old enough to have known Italians born in the nineteenth-century. While Birds of Passage is not about my family, there are numerous insider references in the text. Immigration, of Hispanic people into the United States is a hot topic and there are many parallels to what Italian immigrants faced in the past.
How long did it take to write before submitting the novel for publication?
I started the book in October 2013. My first draft was completed by the following April. I had the manuscript professionally edited, reworked, then I started submitting to publishers in August. By January of 2015, Harvard Square Editions expressed interest, but with suggestions for improvement and asked for a second edit. When the rewrite was completed, Harvard Square Editions agreed to publish in May 2015.
What are you working on now?
I’ve started my second novel, a modern literary thriller about an Italian-American from New York who runs afoul of the Russian mob. I hope you won’t be able to put it down.
Joe Giordano was born in Brooklyn. His father and grandparents immigrated to New York from Naples. Joe and his wife, Jane have lived in Greece, Brazil, Belgium and the Netherlands. They now live in Texas with their shih tzu Sophia. Joe’s stories have appeared in more than sixty magazines including Bartleby Snopes, The Newfound Journal, and The Summerset Review.
Win 1 of 3 copies of Birds of Passage (print book USA & Canada) (ebook international)
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