Like Lesser Gods

Mari Tomasi, Author, Alfred Rosa, Designed by New England Press $12.95 (298p) ISBN 978-0-933050-62-4
This is a somewhat leaden tribute to the men who from the '20s to the '40s toiled in the quarries of Barre, Vt., portrayed here by a native daughter as Granitetown, and to the families that had to watch so many of them die of job-related tuberculosis. In this telling, the eyes that are observant and the heart always eager to help belong to Mister Tiff (ne Tiffone), a lapsed seminarian from Italy come to set right the lives of many temporarily floundering souls. Near the end of the book, he is gratified when ``his friends, each in his own way, had gained in well-being.'' Love of one's work and the joy of doing good in general are clearly the primary values. Equally old-fashioned is the prose: ``A tumultuous pounding racked her breast. Outwardly she was still; tensely still. . . .'' First published in 1949, this book does capture something of the sadness of these ``lesser gods'' who welcome their fate by essentially carving their own tombstones, but is, overall, as simplistic, mopey and uncompelling now as it must have been then. (Feb.)
Reviewed on: 11/03/1988
Release date: 11/01/1988
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