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Product Details

  • Paperback: 574 pages
  • Publisher: Lake Union Publishing (November 15, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1612181376
  • ISBN-13: 978-1612181370
  • Product Dimensions: 8.2 x 5.4 x 1.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (82 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,085,750 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

“Outstanding in every way...” --Lee Child

“The expansive novels that Jim Fusilli’s readers have been waiting for – a broad canvas full of vivid characters, hard choices and steeped in the post-war experience. Fusilli’s take of the men who run the mob and those who can’t escape its pull –including a familiar and iconic crooner – is, at its heart, a uniquely American tale of ambition and failure, of people who underplay their hands and those who overstep their bounds…. A dazzling novel by a great writer at the height of his powers.” --David Liss

“A big, broad-shouldered novel, equal parts Ellroy, Puzo and Scorsese..." --George Pelecanos

 “As tender as it is tough…. A big-hearted story in which love and violence conspire to control the lives of people who very quickly become real….Jim Fusilli writes with urgency and grace, and his is a compelling, gritty, and brilliant voice. I loved it!” --Lisa Scottoline

About the Author

Jim Fusilli serves as the rock and pop music critic of the Wall Street Journal. He is the author of six books: Closing Time; A Well-Known Secret; Tribeca Blues; Hard, Hard City, Mystery Ink magazine’s 2004 Novel of the Year; Pet Sounds; and Marley Z and the Bloodstained Violin. He served as the editor of, and contributed chapters to, the award-winning serial thrillers The Chopin Manuscript and The Copper Bracelet. He developed Narrows Gate as a setting in numerous published short stories. “Chellini’s Solution,” which appeared in the 2007 edition of the Best American Mystery Stories, features Narrows Gate in the years following World War II. “Digby, Attorney at Law” portrays the fictional city in the early 1960s. “Digby” was nominated for the Edgar and Macavity awards in 2010. Fusilli lives in New York City with his wife, the former Diane Holuk, a senior public relations executive. Their daughter Cara is a graduate of the New School.

More About the Author

Jim Fusilli is an American writer. He serves as the rock and pop music critic of The Wall Street Journal and is the author of six novels. A native of Hoboken, NJ, he lives in New York City.

Fusilli's debut novel, the mystery "Closing Time," is the last work of fiction set in New York City published prior to the 9/11 attacks. The following year, Fusilli's mystery "A Well-Known Secret" addressed the impact of 9/11 on the residents of New York City. Two novels for adults followed: "Tribeca Blues" and "Hard, Hard City," which Mystery Ink magazine named its 2004 Novel of the Year.

In 2005, Fusilli wrote "Pet Sounds," his tribute to Brian Wilson and the Beach Boys' classic album. Described as "an experiment in music journalism," the book combines the rhythm and emotional weight of his fiction with the often-unorthodox observations of his music criticism for the Journal, for whom he has written since 1983.

Fusilli served as the editor of, and contributed chapters to, the award-winning serial thrillers "The Chopin Manuscript" and "The Copper Bracelet." His novel for young adults "Marley Z and the Bloodstained Violin" was published in 2008.

Fusilli has written and published many short stories; in several, he developed Narrows Gate as the setting, depicting the city in different eras. "Chellini's Solution," which appeared in the 2007 edition of the Best American Mystery Stories, features Narrows Gate in the years following World War II. "Digby, Attorney at Law" portrays the fictional city in the early 1960s. "Digby" was nominated for the Edgar and Macavity awards in 2010.

Fusilli is married to the former Diane Holuk, a senior public relations executive. They have a daughter, Cara, a graduate of the New School.

Customer Reviews

I liked the dialog between characters as it made the story interesting and easy to follow.
Wixby Bonnet
It is set in a Sicilian section of New York and the background is interesting and authentic as well as carefully constructed.
Howard A. DeWitt
In the end the novelty of the story wore off and I wasn't all that captivated, eager to read it until the last page.
Eddie Wannabee

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

43 of 50 people found the following review helpful By not a natural on November 11, 2011
Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Narrows Gate is a long and complex novel that gets its name from a once largely Sicilian section of New York City. Running from the early 1920's and traversing The Great Depression, World War II, and the onset of the McCarthy Era in the early 1950's, James Fusilli skillfully presents three loosely connected stories of growing up and coming of age in an increasingly diverse land of real and imagined, legitimate and illegitimate, mundane and exotic opportunities. All three stories have their inauspicious beginnings in working class homes in Narrows Gate, then diverge, and eventually reconnect in unlikely but plausible ways that are all but impossible to foresee.

Sal Benno's family owned a small grocery store, and his father was routinely humiliated, roughed up, and shaken down by a brutal Irish cop who represents the incursion of non-Sicilian ethnic groups into the neighborhood. (Anyone who thinks this an unlikely set of circumstances, read The Savage City by T.J. English.) Even as a pre-adolescent, Sal was becoming a genial, street-smart kid with a well-developed sense of right and wrong. When he was only eight, he took his father's pistol and lay in wait for the Irish cop, backing off at the last second, but just barely, and at the frantic urging of his father, Vito.

Leo Bell was born a Polish Jew whose father invented a story that his family was from Ypres, Italy. Their surname didn't sound Italian, but that's just the way it was. Though Leo was a brainy kid, the all-important distinction between Italy and Sicily was lost on him. Shy and much less street-wise than his best friend Sal Benno, Leo was at the top of his class throughout his years in school.
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32 of 39 people found the following review helpful By brjoro VINE VOICE on November 15, 2011
Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
'Narrows Gate' a long and drawn out story of the mob and a few characters in pre and post World War II New Jersey, is not inherently bad. It's a perfectly good book, I read it while commuting and enjoyed it. But when it was done, I just kind of went 'eh'. I mean, if you have read or seen the 'Godfather' movies, there really isn't anything in this book that measures up. It's a very similar story. So if you like mob books, and/or mob movies and you'd like a fun read, I would recommend this. If you are looking for a substantive, deep 'American' novel, um, this is not it!!
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Harriet Klausner #1 HALL OF FAME on November 15, 2011
Format: Paperback
In 1931 in the Narrows Gate section of Manhattan, the Benno family owns a small grocery store. Their patrons are predominately Sicilians including mobsters. However, there biggest problem is with Maguire the prejudicial Irish cop who walks the beat. He systematically roughs up Vito in front of the man's family and demands the grocer give him his shakedown honey. Eight year old Sal wanted to kill the abusive cop.

Polish Jew Leo Bell's father Abramo insists his family is from Ypres, Italy. Leo is brilliant yet a dope as he does not comprehend there is Italy and there is Sicily no matter how many times his best friend Sal tried to educate him. They remain close buddies even as adults but Leo conceals his heritage from Sal for years,

William Rosiglino is a misanthrope picked on by his peers. He has no friends though he awkwardly tries with Leo and Sal. His martinet mom Hennie knows his voice is her road to affluence and out of the neighborhood. She pushes him until he becomes a famous crooner as Bill "Bebe" Marsala, but psychologically he remains a cripple.

Through these three characters, readers obtain a taste of life in New York, Los Angeles and Las Vegas in the 1930s and 1940s. Using real life persona like senators, singers, and mobsters, Jim Fusilli provides a terrific timely epic that deeply looks into the first and second generation immigrant experience only in America.

Harriet Klausner
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16 of 21 people found the following review helpful By Steve Horwitz on November 30, 2010
Format: Audible Audio Edition
I stayed home from work today just because I could not stop listening to this AUDIBLE EXCLUSIVE!!! I am not quite finished, however. Needless to say this is a first for me. Most of you know that the books I have reviewed in the past are five star releases. This is one of those rare listens. The critics are correct. It has everything a crime book/mafia listen should incorporate. The naration is excellent, and the story is one you will not want to press the pause button for any reason, short of a major earthquake in your living room. I still have about five hours to go before what I know will be an exciting ending. The characters are taken right out of a world of realilty that made me forget it was a work of fiction. I hope the author decides to publish a hard cover of this fantastic listen. NARROWS GATE is an audible exclussive I will never forget.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By JoeV VINE VOICE on December 17, 2011
Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
With Narrows Gate the author of a handful of NYC "private-eye" tales provides us with a Mafia drama. From what I've read this novel was pieced together/expanded from a handful of short stories and the result is a mixed bag. If you are familiar with the military novels of WEB Griffin, this reads much like a mafia version of those books with a straightforward, not too deep plot and a set of "stock" characters.

Set across the river from Manhattan in New Jersey, with a time-line from the late 1920's through the late 1950's, Narrows Gate chronicles an Italian crime family very loosely based on Lucky Luciano's syndicate - complete with characters resembling Meyer Lansky, Vito Genovese, Frank Costello and Bugsy Siegel - including a fictional version of both the NY Castellammarese War and the Kefauver Hearings.

There's a Frank Sinatra-esque crooner with ties back to the "family" - and who has a dominating, over-bearing mother. And at the center of the story are two childhood buddies - Leo and Benno - who find their lives intertwined with the mob as they make their way in the world. This story of these two best friends, as they wrestle with their roots, particularly Benno, while staying loyal to each other, is what holds this novel together.

Narrows Gate is an entertaining story, but not too deep. And even at almost 600 pages is a very quick read. Plot twists are predictable; the characters stereotypical and following a script we are all very familiar with - particularly the "crooner" - and the conclusion all tied up in a very neat bow. Without being overly critical and at the risk of sounding condescending, this is Godfather/Mario Puzo lite - perfect airport reading.
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