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"The Family" | Reviewed by Chris Stuckenschneider

The focus of “The Family,” an immersive new novel by Naomi Krupitsky, makes this must-read a fascinating story from page one. It’s about two Italian girls from Brooklyn, daughters of men who manage mafia operations there.

The pageturner takes place in the city from 1928 to 1948 following Sophia and Antonia as they progress through childhood, and teenage years, concluding with them as mothers of their own young children. Along the way, we experience their lives as part of “the family,” where secrets are kept, fear ever present, but unspoken. Readers sense the uneasiness the friends feel, knowing something is different in their homes.

Sophia and Antonia are always together, neighborhood best friends, but they’re profoundly different, each with their own coping mechanisms and personality. Sophia is a spitfire, “…a dark-eyed animal, a quick runner, a loud shouter.” Antonia is more subdued and bookish, less inflammatory.

Sophia’s father, Joey Colicchio works for mob-boss Tommy Fianzo, as does Antonia’s father, Carlo Russo. The two men are often gone nights, doing who knows what with whom, as their wives say, also good friends who often meet once their daughters are in bed to share a bottle of wine.

Sophia and Antonia are inseparable, their bond becoming even stronger when Carlo suddenly disappears, no trace to be found of the father Antonia loved so deeply. The tragedy throws Antonia’s mother into a depression rendering her forever incapable of nurturing her daughter.

Throughout this well written novel Sophia and Antonia look out for one another, accepting and dealing with incredibly difficult situations. “The Family” is an impressive debut with an engaging plot and beautifully drawn characters.

Krupitsky has burst onto the literary stage with a book that should have wide spread appeal. She’s an author to watch.

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