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Augustus Cileone

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Feast or Famine
by Augustus Cileone   

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Books by Augustus Cileone
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ISBN-10:  B007N5VKIQ

Copyright:  March 21, 2012

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A traumatized man confronts his Catholic Italian American past.

EAT, DRINK, AND BE MERRY?  It’s more like eat, drink, and be miserable.  Feast or Famine is a novel which depicts what happens when the tension between the Catholic Church’s restrictions on self-indulgence and the Italian desire for food, gambling, physical passion, and expensive (although tacky) material things encounters the social upheaval of the late 1960’s and early 1970’s. 


The main character, Mike Accordo, an English teacher, had not spoken for a long time after becoming catatonic following a traumatic event involving some students. As part of his recovery, he is in Florence, Italy, in the summer of 1987 with his mentor/surrogate mother/unofficial therapist, Ambrosia D’Italia.  He is dictating his memoir so that he can hear his own voice again and be able to converse with his friend at the same time.  The book focuses on South Philadelphians from the 1960’s to the 1980’s, and includes stories about gangsters, murder, drugs, and rock and roll.

Professional Reviews

Feast or Famine
A humorous, satirical take on the restrictions imposed by the Catholic church during the 1960ís and 1970ís, Feast or Famine is written brilliantly while placing an emphasis on Italian food, family and passion from a unique vantage point. With great characters, witty dialogues and just the right pace, Feast or Famine is a delight to read and is thoroughly enjoyable to the core.

The story takes the reader from the South of Philadelphia all the way to Florence, Italy and in between there are various stories involving deceit, drugs, friendship and even murder. Talk about contrasting events all at once! At every chapter, there is a new angle to the book and thatís what keeps the interest level alive. As to the reason why Mike is unable to talk, thatís a little bit of suspense involved and itís revealed only towards the end of the book.
The book is a roller coaster of emotions with a good amount of humor and satire to make it worthwhile. The best part about the book in undoubtedly, the contrast between South Philly and Italy and the satire involving the Catholic Church is hilarious and not one to be missed.
Oh and by the way, this oneís a boon for food lovers. Youíll just have to read it to find out why!
I was really impressed by the book and there were some moments in the book that had me in splits from laughing too much. The author has got the whole Italian, Catholic and South Philadelphia setting absolutely spot on so much so that I could literally imagine myself in some of the scenes.
Even before I had finished the first couple of chapters, I knew that I was in for a very entertaining and intelligent read! The author, Gus Cileone has a writing style thatís very easy on the eyes and brings you into the skins of the various characters very early one. That for me is one of the key strengths of the book and because of that the timing and placement of every witty remark is absolutely bang on.
At certain points in the book, I was confused whether to laugh or cry or do both at once and all in all itís a book thatís definitely worth spending both money and time on. Mike Accordo is a character youíll definitely remember for a long time and I wouldnít be lying when I say that Feast or Famine is a pure pleasure to read.
Final Verdict on Feast or Famine
Feast or Famine is an impressive novel by Gus Cileone and although not a book for the masses, has everything going right for it in terms of content, humor, satire and style. His style of writing captures the essence of the 1960′s and í70′s very well and puts the reader in a place where the nurturing and suffocation of the soul happens at the same time. All said and done, Iíd give Feast or Famine a good 4 stars out of 5!

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