Sunday, November 23, 2008
The Islands of Divine Music is delightful find. This first novel by John Addiego tells the multi-generational tale of the Verbicaro family from their immigration to America through the turbulent highlights of the 20th Century.
The Verbicaro family grows out of the rubble of the 1906 San Francisco earthquake, with all the vitality and tumult of their adopted city. After the first generation starts a demolition company, the second generation gets in on the ground floor of the WWII Bay Area building boom.
The family business provides a structure for the family as well as the narrative of the book. That family structure is badly damaged by the Vietnam War, leading to a final adventure that tests the faith and love of the third generation of Verbicaros.
The book is dense with historic and family details, but is still as emotionally effervescent and essentially joyful as the extended family it portrays.