Laurie Fabiano Elizabeth Street

ISBN 13: 9780547744940

Elizabeth Street

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9780547744940: Elizabeth Street
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Basing her story on her own family narratives and a deep understanding of Italian Americans, [Fabiano] paints a vivid portrait not just of immigrants' lives in the first ten years of the last century, but of the vicious criminals who preyed on them. -Mike Dash, author of The First Family In Elizabeth Street, Laurie Fabiano tells a remarkable, and previously unheard, story of the Italian immigrant experience at the start of the twentieth century. With stories culled from her own family history, Fabiano paints an entrancing portrait of Giovanna Costa, who, reeling from personal tragedies, tries to make a new life in a new world. Shot through with the smells and sights of Scilla, Italy, and New York's burgeoning Little Italy, this intoxicating story follows Giovanna as she finds companionship, celebrates the birth of a baby girl, takes pride in a growing business, and feels a sense of belonging during a family outing to Coney Island. However, these modest successes are rewarded with the attention of the notorious Black Hand, a gang of brutal extortionists led by Lupo the Wolf. As the stakes grow higher, Giovanna desperately struggles to remain outside the fray, so she may fight for-and finally save-what is important above all else: family.

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Review:

Book Description: In Elizabeth Street, Laurie Fabiano tells a remarkable and previously unheard story of the Italian immigrant experience at the start of the 20th century. Culled from her own family history, Fabiano paints an entrancing portrait of Giovanna Costa, who, reeling from personal tragedies, tries to make a new life in a new world. Shot through with the smells and sights of Scilla, Italy, and New York’s burgeoning Little Italy, this intoxicating story follows Giovanna as she finds companionship, celebrates the birth of a baby girl, takes pride in a growing business, and feels a sense of belonging on a family outing to Coney Island.

However, these modest successes are rewarded with the attention of the notorious Black Hand, a gang of brutal extortionists led by Lupo the Wolf. As the stakes grow higher and higher, readers share with Giovanna her desperate struggle to remain outside the fray, and then to fight for--and finally to save--that which is important above all else: family.
Amazon Exclusive: Maria Laurino Reviews Elizabeth Street

Maria Laurino is the author of the memoirs Old World Daughter, New World Mother, a meditation on contemporary feminism, and the national bestseller, Were You Always an Italian?, an exploration of ethnic identity. Laurino's journalism has appeared in numerous publications, including the New York Times and The Nation, and her essays have been widely anthologized. Read her exclusive guest review of Elizabeth Street:

When readers first meet Giovanna Costa, the protagonist of Elizabeth Street, she is a young woman about to get married in the small Italian fishing village of Scilla, situated between the Calabrian coast and Sicily’s Aeolian Islands. The town is home to the ancient story of Scylla, the once beautiful nymph turned mythical monster that devoured sailors trying to navigate the Straits of Messina. Midway through Laurie Fabiano’s page-turning novel, which is based on her own family history, Giovanna has landed in the New World but finds herself lodged between Scylla and Charybdis. She arrives grief stricken in New York after her beloved husband, Nunzio, has been killed on a badly managed construction site in Brooklyn. Eventually she will settle into an arranged second marriage, but her troubles continue to multiply. Giovanna will be forced to combat the nefarious forces of the Black Hand, the precursor to the Italian-American Mafia, which has threatened to tear apart her new family.

Supporting herself in New York first as a midwife, Giovanna teams up with a woman doctor from northern Italy. The two become close friends and the doctor shares medical knowledge that Giovanna will combine with her holistic midwifery skills. But Giovanna’s fate changes after deciding to open a small fruit and vegetable market with her new husband. The store is an easy source of potential revenue for criminals offering "protection services," and soon Giovanna’s family becomes their prey. With the same mix of disciplined study and the pinch of southern Italian mysticism that she applied to midwifery, Giovanna will take on the ruthless organized crime syndicate that has kidnapped her daughter and murdered the police lieutenant assigned to protect the neighborhood.

Mario Puzo once claimed, years after writing The Godfather, that he had based the infamous character of Don Corleone on his mother. Fabiano has created in Elizabeth Street a southern Italian heroine fighting those criminal forces that have long victimized poor and vulnerable immigrants. In this multigenerational, well-researched tale, the reader also learns interesting details of the common struggles facing southern Europeans coming to America--how, for instance, Ellis Island inspectors were instructed to mark northern and southern Italians as two separate races; and how the wages for common laborers in parts of the country were divided into three categories, the highest salary paid to "whites," the middle scale for "coloreds," and the lowest amount to "Italians."

Elizabeth Street is both a fascinating immigrant story and an intimate portrait of how a first-generation American--and the author’s own great-grandmother--outwits one of the most brutal crime organizations of the early 20th century. --Maria Laurino

About the Author:

Laurie Fabiano has had an exciting and colorful career in the nonprofit world. After graduating from college, she moved to her family's hometown of Hoboken, New Jersey, established the Hoboken Cultural Council, and created an innovative three-month arts and cultural festival. She went on to coordinate New York City's July 4th celebration. After involvement in local political campaigns, she became Deputy Mayor of Hoboken during the administration of Thomas Vezzetti, a reform candidate dubbed "The Wackiest Mayor in America." When she left the mayor's office, she continued a project she initiated--taking the first American Baseball team to the Soviet Union for a "Goodwill Tour." In 1988, AIDS was at its peak; motivated by the death of a family member, Fabiano became an AIDS activist. For seven years, she produced AIDS Walks and AIDS Dance-a-thons around the country, raising AIDS awareness and millions of dollars. In the past decade as the Robin Hood Foundation's senior vice president, she helped grow the foundation into the largest private organization fighting poverty in New York City. She is now the President of Fab Tool, a marketing and events company.   Fabiano comes from a creative and close Italian family and loves all things Italian. Elizabeth Street, her first novel, is her family's story. She lives in Hoboken with her husband, Joe, and their daughter, Siena.

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Other Popular Editions of the Same Title

9781935597025: Elizabeth Street

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ISBN 10:  1935597027 ISBN 13:  9781935597025
Publisher: Lake Union Publishing, 2010
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9781442152618: Elizabeth Street: A novel based on true events

Create..., 2009
Softcover

9781600815317: Elizabeth Street

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