Salvatore Scibona reads from The End: A Novel (Graywolf Press, 2008)

A small, incongruous man receives an excruciating piece of news: his son has died in a POW camp in Korea. It is August 15, 1953, the day of a tumultuous street carnival in Elephant Park, an Italian immigrant neighborhood in Ohio. The man is Rocco LaGrassa, and his years of dogged labor, paternal devotion, and steadfast Christian faith are about to come to a crashing end. He is the first of many exquisitely drawn characters we meet in The End, which follows an elderly abortionist, an enigmatic drapery seamstress, a sullen teenage boy, and a jeweler into the heart of a crime that will affect all their lives. The End, Salvatore Scibona’s debut novel, was a 2008 National Book Award finalist and winner of the 2009 New York Public Library Young Lions Fiction Award.

“A masterful novel set amid racial upheaval in 1950s America during the flight of second-generation immigrants from their once-necessary ghettos. Full of wisdom, consequence, and grace, Salvatore Scibona’s radiant debut brims with the promise of a remarkable literary career, of which The End is only the beginning.”

—Annie Dillard, author of The Maytrees