Google+

The Most Unforgettable Mafioso Since Michael Corleone

[For review copies and information, contact Brent Robison, Bliss Plot Press, 1277 Wittenberg Road, Mt. Tremper, NY 12457; blissplotpress. com.]

Mafia? What Mafia?

New York – As the city reeled from the 9/11 attack a sixty-seven-year-old New Yorker began wearing shoes out rediscovering the city of his youth and finding reason to write poetry again after almost thirty years’ silence. The city’s indomitability and multi-culturalism stirred deeply – the city looked like the world in microcosm.

As he walked, pockets stuffed with notes, he remembered his friendship with a Hell’s Kitchen thug in the 1950s that inspired him to start writing fiction in 1988. He pulled his fictional account of this strange friendship from his files and saw it as an allegory for the city’s vitality and protean traits. He saw that it goes straight to the heart of today’s news, because it’s about belonging and unbelonging, who’s foreign and who’s not.

Djelloul Marbrook’s novel, Saraceno, is drawn from his own life and that of his stepfather, Dominick J. Guccione. Guccione was a childhood chum of the notorious Charles Lucana (Lucky Luciano) and knew Frank Costello, Vito Genovese, Joey Adonis and other headline mafiosi. His view of the Mafia was poignant. When his stepson asked him to talk about it, he gave the answer made famous later by Tony Soprano: “What Mafia? You read the papers too much.”

Drawing from his own experience as a newspaper hawker on the streets of Manhattan, Marbrook brings to life in Saraceno a Mafia very different from the popular version. The novel’s protagonist, Billy Salviati, is based on the life of an eerily handsome and violent ex-con fresh out of Dannemora Prison and the author’s friendship with him. The don who employs Billy as a hit man calls him Il Saraceno, a nod to the impact of the long Arab rule of Sicily on Sicilian culture. The very word Mafia may well derive from the name of the Arab tribe that once ruled Palermo.

Marbrook is the author of several other novels, Guest Boy, Book 1 of the Light Piercing Water trilogy (2012, Mira Publishing House), Artemisia’s Wolf (2011, Prakash Books), and Alice Miller’s Room (1999, Online Originals). He has also written two books of poetry, Brushstrokes and Glances (2010, Deerbrook), and Far from Algiers (2008, Kent State University Press), winner of the 2007 Stan and Tom Wick prize and the 2010 International Book Prize in poetry. An excerpt from the Light Piercing Water trilogy won the 2008 Literal Latté short fiction prize. His stories and poems have been widely published in literary journals.

Marbrook was born in Algiers to a Bedouin father and an American artist. He grew up in West Islip and Manhattan, where he attended Dwight School and Columbia. While in school he held a variety of jobs – soda jerk, messenger, newspaper vendor, and theater and nightclub concessionaire. He briefly served in the merchant marine and then in the U.S. Navy. Poetry had always been his passion, but in his thirties he realized he needed to know himself better in order to write honest poems. He stopped writing poems and pursued a respected newspaper career at such dailies as The Providence Journal, The Elmira (NY) Star-Gazette, The Baltimore Sun, The Winston-Salem Journal, and The Washington Star.

In Saraceno, which the writer Dan Baum calls “an electric tone-poem,” Marbrook ably captures the patois of Manhattan, the blending of Sicilian, Yiddish and Irish cadences and body language. Marbrook himself heard infamous mafiosi of the ’50s chatting in his stepfather’s kitchen over glasses of homemade marsala, men like Frank Costello, Vito Genovese and Joey Adonis.

Saraceno has been released in e-book and audio formats. This $10 paperback [120pp] will be published in early march.

REQUEST INFORMATION

Entertainment

For movies opening August 18, 2017

  OPENING THIS WEEK Kam's Kapsules Weekly Previews That Make Choosing a Film Fun by Kam Williams For movies opening August 18, 2017 BIG BUDGET FILMS The Hitman's Bodyguard (R for graphic violence and pervasive profanity) Unlikely-buddies comedy about an ace bodyguard (Ryan Reynolds) who grudgingly helps a notorious assassin (Samuel L. Jackson) negotiate a dangerous gauntlet en route to the Hague where he's set to testify in 24 … [Read More its Good for You.....]

Lifestyle

The “King” Will Take Center Stage at the 2017 Wildlife Conservation Expo

  The “King” Will Take Center Stage at the 2017 Wildlife Conservation Expo by Amy Lignor   Each and every year the Wildlife Conservation Expo is held to address situations out there that are harming our world and its animal inhabitants. This time around, WCN’s annual Fall Wildlife Conservation Expo in October, will be focusing on various issues, but it is the King of the Jungle who will be taking center stage. For those who are … [Read More its Good for You...]

Outdoors

How Bassmaster Pro Edwin Evers Adjusts the Auto Settings on His Sonar

  How Bassmaster Pro Edwin Evers Adjusts the Auto Settings on His Sonar  by Edwin Evers When it comes to electronics, a question I get asked a lot is, “How do you customize your fish finder settings at the beginning of a day on the water?” The short answer is, “I don’t.”   You might think that a guy who makes his living with a rod and reel and who’s always looking for ways to tweak a lure or find a stronger knot would spend a … [Read More its Good for You...]

Sports

College Football Arriving Soon!

  College Football Arriving Soon! by Amy Lignor   Ask any college football fan and they will tell you that it seems like an eternity waiting for the season to begin. But, have no fear, the kick-off to the college season is almost here, with Colorado State and Oregon State hitting the field on Saturday, August 26th at 2:30 p.m. ET. On the same day, fans of Oregon State and Colorado State will see an active match-up, and Portland … [Read More its Good for You...]

Travel

Going Back in Time on the Ultimate Steamboat Vacation

  Going Back in Time on the Ultimate Steamboat Vacation by Amy Lignor   Many people love taking a cruise. But it is the river cruise on that glorious steamboat that not only offers all the benefits a big ocean liner offers, but also creates a more personalized, intimate vacation experience. It is a unique recipe: being able to witness stunning landscapes, mixed with amazing history, while dining on acclaimed regional cuisine and … [Read More its Good for You...]

Real Estate

Real Estate: Refinancing Rates on the Rise in 2017

  Real Estate: Refinancing Rates on the Rise in 2017 by Amy Lignor   The term ‘meteoric rise’ usually applies to something fun. Think: A Hollywood actor who has been ‘discovered.’) Unfortunately, when it comes to this article, ‘meteoric rise’ is something that will not bring a smile to one’s face. To put it simply, if you wish to refinance your home, you need to do it ASAP. If choosing to wait too much longer, homeowners across the … [Read More its Good for You.....]

Business

Umbrella Insurance: The Safety Net You Need

  Umbrella Insurance: The Safety Net You Need by Amy Lignor   The realm of insurance is just about the most difficult maze to get through. Each and every day it seems the financial and insurance industries are changing. What is not changing, however, is the fact that lawsuits fill up the courts more and more – lawsuits that award cash to third parties even if you don’t happen to have that cash saved. More and more, the words “umbrella … [Read More its Good for You...]

Green Living

Creating the Perfect Vegetable Garden

  Creating the Perfect Vegetable Garden by Amy Lignor   Many are still dealing with that wintery mix Mother Nature just loves to toss down from the sky this time of year. Yet, that gardener living inside the soul – the one just dreaming of the sunny skies and lazy rainy days that are must-haves in order to grow the best vegetables possible – is already jotting down the facts, tricks and tips they need to know in order to make that … [Read More its Good for You...]

Books

Book of Black Heroes

  Book of Black Heroes Political Leaders Past and Present by Gil L. Robertson, IV Foreword by Myrlie Evers-Williams Just Us Books Paperback, $12.95 80 pages ISBN: 978-1-933491-21-9 Book Review by Kam Williams “The first African-American political leaders began to serve following the Civil War...Known as Reconstruction, this period represented a window of opportunity for African-Americans... Many [Black] political leaders emerged … [Read More its Good for You...]