Asteronga, New York is a disturbing cross between Sherwood Anderson’s Winesburg, Ohio and Richard Russo’s Elsewhere, a dark tale of growing up in small town America in the 20th century. The young male narrator describes a childhood and youth shadowed by mortality and death. His beloved sister disappears so completely that he wonders if she ever existed. He punches a boy whose only offense is that he is his own perfect double. He and a pal play a prank which leads to a local outcast being crippled. The two boys witness the murder of a woman by an enraged husband. A little girl in the neighborhood encourages the killing of small animals to fill her play cemetery. Teenagers swim across a lake on a dare but one disappears. But there are also transcendent moments, including an apparition of the Blessed Virgin Mary. And the young man discovers love, first a self-pitying infatuation for Marjorie who runs away with a local punk and then a triumphant passion for Gracie, a teenage prostitute.