Genre: Fiction, Historical coming of age romance
Rating: 3 out of 5
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.
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I was intrigued from the beginning how the entire book would go and play out, but I felt like it was sort of slow. I am sure we needed the background we did to get to know the characters and what it was like for them – and I really enjoyed it – it was just slower paced than I typically prefer.
Leonardo is a good man. I really liked following him and his journey and his story. Carlo… I wasn’t really a fan. I knew the moment Carlo showed up that there was going to be issues with Azzura. Between her parents and Carlo’s background and Leonardo’s background… it wasn’t going to be all roses.
I liked the little puzzling pieces that I was able to pick up throughout and put them into place. It definitely kept me intrigued and reading.
I truly enjoyed looking into the life of an immigrant who came over seas by whatever means they could and what they faced when they got here. Some of the ‘disgust’ that they faced from the Irish was rather comical considering the Irish immigrated at one time, but that’s a whole other post for another time.
You definitely see a different view and way of life.
About the Author
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.