Make Nice

Rita Ciresi, Author Ecco Press $22 (0p) ISBN 978-0-88001-515-8
Smooth prose, a snappy pace and clever, if nasty, repartee give a veneer of fun to Ciresi's bittersweet debut novel (after the Flannery O'Connor Award-winning short-story collection Mother Rocket). But under the shiny surface of this funny, earthy work there's a tremendous amount of pain as, after three years of marriage, Rosa Salvatore and her 31-year-old husband, Gary Fisher, face the fact of his terminal cancer. Bookended by Gary's diagnosis and his rapid decline, the narrative traces their courtship and marriage. Insecure, self-deprecating Rosa, from a working-class, Italian Catholic New Haven neighborhood known as Pizza Beach, is determined to earn a college degree and escape her past. As a hospital social worker, she meets Gary, a wealthy Jewish law student at Yale, when they work together on the case of a black client named Ivory White. Both Rosa and Gary had terrible childhoods, thanks to outrageously neurotic parents. Rosa's are lower-class loudmouths; Gary's mother is a snooker champion who constantly bickers with his father. Both sets of parents are glad to see their children marry, however, and all grieve after Rosa has a miscarriage. Gary's death brings none of the survivors closer, with Rosa suffering many regrets. Ciresi's depiction of New Haven's blue-collar ethnic neighborhoods is complete with local color. Her facile comic energy makes for entertaining reading, though constant wisecracking robs the characterization of some depth. Yet there is real substance in this tragicomic story of two people with smart mouths and starved hearts groping their way towards a love they don't get much chance to enjoy. (Sept.)
Reviewed on: 05/01/2000
Release date: 05/01/2000
Show other formats
FORMATS
X
Stay ahead with
Tip Sheet!
Free newsletter: the hottest new books, features and more
X
Only $18.95/month for Digital Access
or $20.95 for Print+Digital Access!
X
Only $18.95/month for Digital Access
or $20.95 for Print+Digital Access!
X
Email Address

Password

Log In Lost Password

PW has integrated its print and digital subscriptions, offering exciting new benefits to subscribers, who are now entitled to both the print edition and the digital editions of PW (online or via our app). For instructions on how to set up your accout for digital access, click here. For more information, click here.

The part of the site you are trying to access is now available to subscribers only. Subscribers: to set up your digital subscription with the new system (if you have not done so already), click here. To subscribe, click here.

Email pw@pubservice.com with questions.

Not Registered? Click here.