Scott Brown
September 12, 2003 AT 04:00 AM EDT

Say That To My Face

type
Book
Current Status
In Season
author
David Prete
genre
Fiction

We gave it a B+

Joey Frascone, Prete’s Bronx-born, Yonkers-bred narrator, has a real reverence for the working-class toughs who populate these loosely interlocking stories: One Italian stallion has eyes like ”two homicides about to happen”; another is seen ”emanating his future…[a] future of work, neighborhood, family, and the beautiful poetry of routine.” Reverence, however, is different from affection: Wistful Joey would gladly trade all the ambient machismo for a day in Holden Caulfield’s vagabond shoes — so long as he could retain his batting average and lady-killer looks. Perhaps that’s why Joey ends up feeling a bit more synthetically literary than the people he describes. Nonetheless, Prete’s stories are as casually virtuoso as a neighborhood knuckleball.

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