cover image A Season in Florida

A Season in Florida

Emanuele Pettener. Bordighera Press, $14 trade paper (154p) ISBN 978-1-59954-054-2

This energetic, well-told short fiction collection from Pettener features six short stories and a novella. "A Pointed Finger," the complex novella, concerns the close and remarkable friendship between Alfredo Crepuscolo, an art history professor in his 30s in South Florida, and Rosa, a 50-year-old divorc%C3%A9 and mother of three who manages a fast food restaurant. Since they share an Italian heritage, Rosa opens up and relates the sad story of her difficult, poverty-stricken girlhood to Alfredo, beginning with "a pointed finger" that forces her to leave her native Italy and go reside on Long Island. Meantime, Alfredo is dealing with his own struggles to navigate the "filthy business" of academia politics to secure a tenured position and his livelihood. The first short story, "The Night I Became a Real Man," is a humorous chronicle of a neurotic young Florida man's battle to overcome his driving phobia. The title short story finds an angry university professor who, while at a dinner party, can only lust for his middle-aged student's daughter and later takes out his frustrations by instigating a disco-bar brawl. "Revelations" is a spirited anti-bullying tale in which the 12-year-old victim, Lud, in grand underdog fashion, turns on his tormentor. (Aug.)