Think Most Immigrants Eventually Adapt to America? New Memoir Tells of Two Whose Experience Was Bumpy, Funny, and Painfully Poignant.
New York, NY, March 28, 2014 --(PR.com
)-- Ten years ago, author James Vescovi began collecting stories about his unusual grandparents. While they lived in the modern world, their minds remained stuck in a medieval Italian farming culture. The newly published "Eat Now; Talk Later" features 52 hilarious and poignant stories about immigrants in New York who were stumped by telephones, banks, fast food, TV wrestling, and supermarkets.
When Tony and Desolina Vescovi arrived in America in 1929, they collided with the 20th century. They'd been born around 1900 in farming communities where little had changed for hundreds of years. It was up to their only child, a son, to serve as their shepherd, and it wasn’t easy For example, how to explain that his job was taking him and his family 700 miles away when, in their day, sons stayed put to work the family farm? Or that it wasn’t wise to hide $10,000 in the bedroom? Or you needed bring cash to the hospital to pay your bill?
Not only is the subject of the book original, but so is the way it is written. Tony and Desolina’s life is recounted through stories recalling incidents and ideas that reveal their character. Several of the stories have already appeared in print in publications such as The New York Times, Creative Nonfiction, Newsday, and Ancestry Magazine.
“I could never have written a traditional, birth-to-death memoir of my grandparents,” says Vescovi. “They were not famous and did nothing that we might deem extraordinary, like invent a successful product or argue before the U.S. Supreme Court. Instead, like most of us, they lived quiet, anonymous lives. Yet, how do we tell others about remarkable family members—through story.”
Vescovi’s collection—the full title is "Eat Now; Talk Later: 52 True Tales of Family, Feasting, and the American Dream" — began with his father. He traveled around the world as a pharmaceutical executive and he returned home with amazing stories. He was a born storyteller. He also told tales about his childhood with Tony and Desolina in New York, which the author collected. The book also contains a scrapbook of family photos and recipes.
According to Vescovi, the book’s title comes from his grandmother, who disliked conversation during meals. “To her, eating was sacred. Conversing while eating tortellini was like talking loudly during mass. You just didn’t do it.” Vescovi is quick to point out that while the tales have an Italian flavor, they have a universal quality about them. “We all have relatives like my grandparents. Part of my goal in writing 'Eat Now; Talk Later' is to encourage people ferret out and collect their own precious family stories.”
"Eat Now; Talk Later" is also a book for modern, busy people. Stories can be read before bed, on a lunch hour, or waiting in line. “They can even be shared with friends who complain they have enough to read,” says the author.
To read an excerpt, hear an author interview, buy the book, and see one-of-a-kind photos, visit the author’s web site at eatnowtalklater.com