Dad of Divas' Reviews: Book Review - Narrows Gate

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Book Review - Narrows Gate

About the Book
Jim Fusilli’s new novel takes place in the years surrounding World War II in the dangerous immigrant neighborhood of Narrows Gate, overlooking the Hudson River, where anything can happen—and it usually does. Sal Benno is a neighborhood kid who doesn’t take to school but is able to provide the favors the Mafia needs, a skill that brings him into their inner circle and closer to ultimate danger. His lifelong friend Leo Bell sticks by Sal through thick and thin, but harbors a dangerous secret that could either keep Sal alive—or bring his life to an abrupt end. In the middle of it is Billy “Bebe” Marsala, a hugely popular and handsome crooner who becomes a pawn in a mob war that could destroy them all. A novel that rekindles the spirit of such groundbreaking works as Mario Puzo’s The Godfather and Budd Schulberg’s On the Waterfront, Narrows Gate is a powerful, epic saga that captures the heart of the immigrant experience—and the soul of America.

As the long-time rock and pop critic for The Wall Street Journal, Fusilli employs his knowledge of, and passion for, the music of the era to give NARROWS GATE its “soundtrack.” Though this is his sixth novel, it is the first to prominently feature music. Among the musicians who appear in the novel are Count Basie, Bing Crosby, Roy Eldridge, Lester Young and, most notably, Billie Holiday. And the character of Bebe Marsala, a talented, brazen and deeply flawed crooner, is based on the legend of Frank Sinatra, Hoboken’s most famous native. In addition to Bebe, many other characters were inspired by real legends, such as Ava Gardner, Artie Shaw, Lucky Luciano, Frank Costello, Meyer Lansky and Bugsy Siegel, to name a few.

My Take on the Book
What I think sets this book apart from others is the author's use of real life personas within his book. You are transported into another time where Mobs reign supreme and immigrants are everywhere. For many you will seem many parallels within this book to the 1930's and 1940's in the United States.  This book was a engaging read and I found that once I started the book I could not set the book back down. The action was intense and you truly do get drawn into the overall story and the action of the book itself. While the book is a bit long, you will not even notice it as you delve into the imagery and plot that flows off every page!

All opinions expressed in this review are my own and not influenced in any way by the company.  Any product claim, statistic, quote or other representation about a product or service should be verified with the manufacturer or provider. Please refer to this site's Disclaimer  for more information. I have been compensated or given a product free of charge, but that does not impact my views or opinions.

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