SAY THAT TO MY FACE

David Prete, Author . Norton $23.95 (192p) ISBN 978-0-393-05798-0

In this classic New York tale of lost innocence, Joe Frascone grows up running the streets of Yonkers, then embarks on a revelatory cross-country trip and finally winds up back in the city working as a drug mule. Prete's debut novel gets off to a slow start with a series of mundane coming-of-age scenes that establish Frascone's gritty Italian heritage and his difficulty adjusting to his parents' divorce. The action heats up when Joe and two buddies, Mark and Benny, drop out of high school half way through senior year and take off on a cross-country drive. Their trip takes an unexpected turn, and they end up settling for a while in the unlikely locale of coastal South Carolina. The best passages in the book find Frascone back in New York, where he connects with a drug dealer and takes a terrifying trip to Jamaica on which he must swallow dozens of latex-covered marijuana pellets and make it back through customs in a semi-hallucinatory state. Prete combines a tough-guy sensibility with fragmented, episodic storytelling. The effect can be gruffly lyrical, but the pacing is rocky. Still, Prete's complicated affection for neighborhood life—and his ability to produce vivid thumbnail sketches of the kind of men who feel at home in dingy pool halls—gives his debut authority and individuality. 5-city author tour. (Sept.)

Reviewed on: 08/04/2003
Release date: 09/01/2003
Genre: Fiction
Open Ebook - 192 pages - 978-0-393-08997-4
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