Tony Ardizzone reads from The Whale Chaser (Academy Chicago Publishers, 2010)
The Whale Chaser is the story of Vince Sansone, the eldest child and only son in a large Italian-American family, who comes of age in 1960s Chicago. A constant disappointment to his embittered father, Vince finds solace in Marie Santangelo, the neighborhood butcher’s winsome daughter, and Lucy Sheehan, an older girl with a reputation. When Vince abruptly flees Chicago he ends up in Tofino, a fishing town on the rugged west coast of Vancouver Island in British Columbia. He finds a job gutting fish, then is hired by Tofino’s most colorful dealer, Mr. Zig-Zag, and joins the thriving marijuana trade. Through his friendship with an Ahousaht native named Ignatius George, he finds his calling as a whale guide. Ultimately, Vince comes to terms with the consequences of his own actions as well as the unspoken story of how his grandfather, like thousands of other Italian Americans, was evacuated from prohibited zones on the West Coast and interned in a prison camp after the bombing of Pearl Harbor.
“A sumptuous and inspirational read. . . . With The Whale Chaser Tony Ardizzone has achieved his masterpiece, and at the same time—off-handedly, with true sprezzatura—one of the two or three greatest novels ever of the Italian-American quandary.”
— John Domini, author of Earthquake I.D.