Sunday, November 14, 2010
Donald Greco’s novel Abramo’s Gift (Bridgeway Books, 2008) tells the story of a young Italian Abramo Cardone who moves to America after losing his wife and infant child in a brutal crime incident committed by soldiers in his home country. Arriving in Ohio in 1918, he finds a new place to work and live, not knowing what destiny has in stock for him. As the story proceeds, Abramo suffers another trauma but recovers to a fuller life that has love, belongingness, and even more money than he could think of.
The story on the whole makes an uplifting book with a high value placed on love, respect, and care among the many characters involved. However, the lack of balance is excessively felt throughout the book. Characters, which seem far more in number than needed for a complete story, are not developed well as the story proceeds. There is little real conflict, no climax, and a pretty fulsome ending that annoyingly zooms in on making everybody feel happy and look nice and safe. There is virtually no humor in the nearly 300 pages, making the story feel quite dry. Above all, the novel’s hero – Abramo – feels like a passive, ignored character that is hardly shown doing anything at all (not even speaking).
Chapters in this novel are usually short and there is a lot of telling than showing throughout the plot, resulting in the undesirable ease with which one can guess what’s coming. The only significance of the novel, apparent to me, is a picture of multi-ethnic social setting in early 20th Century America, mostly comprising Italians and Irish immigrants in the area where the story takes place. Though not thoroughly explored, what they did and how they lived may be of interest to readers having a liking for society and history. Personally, I would recommend Abramo’s Gift only to those who loved reading fairytales, and continue to do so.