West of Rome's two novellas, My Dog Stupid and The Orgy, fulfill the
promise of their rousing titles. The latter novella opens with virtuoso
description: His name was Frank Gagliano, and he did not believe in God.
He was that most singular and startling craftsman of the building trade-a
left-handed bricklayer. Like my father, Frank came from Torcella Peligna, a
cliff-hugging town in the Abruzzi. Lean as a spider, he wore a leather cap
and puttees the year around, and he was so bowlegged a dog could lope
between his knees without touching them.

John Fante—West Of Rome

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