The Rosary Roulette

Peter Gagliano, Author Rivercross Publishing $15.95 (0p) ISBN 978-1-58141-008-2
Chicago native Gagliano's second novel (after The Other Side of Green) consists of five loosely connected narratives, each focusing on a parishioner of a Windy City church. Four elderly women and a lone, silent man regularly attend the 6:15 a.m. weekday mass and rosary session at St. Margaret Mary's. Their lives are so similarly lonely and defeated that the cumulative effect is one of bland homogeneity. Three of the women--Mrs. Litner, Mrs. Murphy and Mrs. Cubbage--lost their husbands after unhappy marriages. All four women have been disappointed and emotionally abandoned by their children. The single male, Mr. Fettapelli, languishes in his love for a woman from the wrong side of town; he, too, has a son ruined by alcoholism. Gagliano's descriptions of Chicago, a city that ""has claimed far many more souls than it has created,"" often read like excerpts from a travel brochure: ""Loyola is very much a commuter school and finding parking near the campus is often more challenging than the courses."" At other times, this flat commentary gives way to confusing stabs at profundity: ""Somewhere between magic and lies is truth."" In the end, such platitudes neither relieve nor complicate the gloomy monotony of these tales. (Apr.)
Reviewed on: 03/01/1999
Release date: 03/01/1999
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