Vincent Panella reads from Lost Hearts (Apollo’s Bow, 2010)

This powerful suite of stories begins in 1900 against a background of rural Sicilian class warfare. A young man kills his violent, adulterous father and escapes to United States, where his descendents struggle against the bonds of the past. In stories set in the outer boroughs of New York City and beyond, a group of thirteen-year-olds take a blood oath to form a gang; a precocious teenager grapples with adultery; a scrappy diabetic faces mortality in a room stripped of everything but a few family photos; and a mother holds her dysfunctional family together from the citadel of her kitchen. From family conflicts to romantic hardships, author Vincent Panella reveals multifaceted characters over the course of their lives. The stories in Lost Hearts reflect a world that is harrowing and fierce, at times tender and humorous, but always brutally honest.

“Panella knows how to show suffering with dignity, and pity without remorse. Psychologically rich without being pedantic, these stories probe the inner workings of everyday people who struggle to survive often impossible situations.”–Fred Gardaphé, Queens College