About the Book
Salvatore Pane’s The Neorealist in Winter is a collection of eleven short stories that explore what it means to be human in an age of media oversaturation. Utilizing methods of speculative, historical, and postmodern storytelling, Pane grapples with legacies of immigration, poverty, toxic masculinity, and moral failures, while focusing on working-class issues, family drama, and PTSD. Following eleven Italian narrators, Pane builds a cast of cinematic characters across disparate times and places—a struggling director attends a house party in the la dolce vita of 1960s Rome, gangsters chase a low-level lottery runner in coal valley Scranton, a woman contemplates experimental surgery to purge memories of her childhood trauma in Minnesota, and a pro wrestling promoter descends into self-denial through his autobiography.
Praise for The Neorealist in Winter
Vivid fiction that asks how you can run from your past when it made you who you are.
These stories ache and bend into the convex shapes of despair without necessarily pining for seasons of respite. In the scratch that is ordinary tragedy and extraordinary expectations, a light pulses in these characters filled with language for obsession, adoration, and fury.
—Venita Blackburn, author of How to Wrestle a Girl: Stories
A wildly inventive book that’s both hilarious and heartbreaking, about the strange comforts we find in desperate moments: a man holds off his sorrows by obsessively watching Goodfellas; a son copes with his absent father via professional wrestling; a woman works through trauma by way of a talking-animal sitcom. Salvatore Pane is a writer alert to all the puzzling paths that healing sometimes takes, a writer of profound insight and honesty and pure gracious human compassion.
—Nathan Hill, author of Wellness: A Novel
Take a breath between these thrilling stories: you’re about to meet characters on the verge of something great or calamitous, navigating a range of worlds from the hyper-real present to the sepia-toned past. Salvatore Pane delivers each cinematic scene with deft narrative urgency and economy, blending fact and fiction in a way that feels thematically true not only to the Italian American experience, but to the harrowing experience of being alive.
—Christopher Castellani, author of Leading Men