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Matt Cutugno
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (42 customer reviews)

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  • Length: 209 pages (estimated)
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Book Description


#1 Amazon Best Seller in Aging Parents (April/May 2012)


It’s a winter’s day, perhaps the last day of an old man’s existence.

Matt “Tug” Cutugno has lived a good life, that of a hard working family man. He has earned the right to a happy ending; he wants a pat on the back for a job well done. But just where is his reward?

Tug’s wife and children are gone and his dreams of a future are now memories of his past – the war; getting married and raising a family; his days as a working man.

His present is filled by winter barbeques of grilled kielbasa for breakfast, grilled chicken for lunch and grilled zucchini and hot dogs for dinner.

As he sits on his lawn chair in the snow-covered backyard of the home that he built himself, a menagerie of wonderful people visits this extraordinary everyman who is not searching for himself, but who is seeking the meaning of what he accomplished in this life.

And with each visit from his wife, his children, his friends and neighbors, his war time buddies, the story of this brave and unsentimental man unfolds so that the past and present merge into something that can be called the truth of an entire generation of men who fought in World War II.


“The Winter Barbeque is an exceptional work - a bittersweet journey of years, traversed in hours, while melting the boundaries between memory and reality.”

-- M.L. Martin
Editor-in-Chief, “The Hilltop Observer”

“The Winter Barbeque is an extraordinary and vivid memoir about the best that there is in a father. The author's honest and sympathetic style makes this an enormously rewarding work." 

-- D.S Lliteras, author of “Thieves of Golgotha” and “The Master of Secrets”


Matt Cutugno's plays have been produced in New York, Los Angeles, and in regional theaters. He is a frequent contributor to the short story anthology, “In Good Company,” and his essays have been featured in various literary publications. THE WINTER BARBEQUE is his first book. He lives in California with his wife Lily.

Product Details

  • File Size: 4340 KB
  • Print Length: 209 pages
  • Publisher: Schiller & Wells, Ltd., An Imprint of Stay Thirsty Publishing, A Division of Stay Thirsty Media, Inc. (September 27, 2010)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B0044UHVBS
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #709,040 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
4.4 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
29 of 31 people found the following review helpful
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I don't know the other reviewers of this book, but their definitions of "funny," "heartwarming" and "humorous" must be diametrically opposed to mine, especially in reference to this achingly sad novel. The story consists solely of stream of consciousness inside the confused mind of a lonely, neglected elderly man, as he stumbles though the last 24 hours of his life. Each chapter equals one hour, and the main character, Tug, spends about 10 minutes of each hour being painfully lucid and about 50 minutes dwelling in his past and hallucinating conversations and confrontations with the significant others of his life. From the gritty reality of living in mold and filth in his once proud home, peeing in plastic containers stashed all over the house, rationalizing his attraction to some sadistic pornography, and ruing his inability to cut his own toenails, Tug veers off into reliving his WWII bombadier experiences, his love/hate relationships with his children and his brother, and his joys and sorrows shared with his much-loved wife, whose life degenerated into serious illness and dementia. Tug is both attracted to and fearful of the shapes he "sees" in the woods and "hears" in his house, and places baseball bats all over the house for protection. Gee, who wouldn't think this is a "enormously rewarding" book, eh? As Tug spends more and more time wandering in the cold and snow in pursuit of imaginary compatriots, his winter barbecues become increasingly more harrowing. There is only one, inevitable conclusion, but the entire novel left me sad and angry that anyone would think this is a noble way to die.
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23 of 27 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A rare treat July 16, 2011
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
It's hard to express just how moving this book is. On one level, it's a son's beautifully heartfelt and thoughtful love letter to his father and his family. At the same time, it's one generation bidding a loving goodbye to a fading generation, acknowledging respect and deep affection.

Cutugno's years of playwriting experience are clearly evident here. The book's dialog has a natural, easy flow, often humorous and touching at the same time -- the sure hand of an experienced craftsman. And he deftly takes us from familiar domestic scenes to remarkably detailed moments of his father's harrowing bombing missions during World War II.

More importantly, when you finish the final chapter, don't be surprised to find yourself exhilarated with the same sort of feeling you get when you've just left the theater knowing you've witnessed one of those unforgettable moments of emotional power you'll carry with you for many years.

"Winter Barbeque" is simply a great book.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Just could not get into this book November 8, 2012
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I was expecting to like this book, but just not my cup of tea. I quit reading after the first two chapters because I was plain bored. It may be a good story, but he went into such detail about firing up the hibachi and what he was cooking on it that I was flipping through pages waiting for something more. Perhaps if I had gone farther into the book it may have been better; but if a book does not grab me in the beginning, I don't waste my time. There are far too many really good books to read in this world than one that does not interest me, although others may find this book just what they like. Diversity is what makes the world go 'round. Am glad I got it free, nothing wasted but my time.
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14 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Winter Barbeque - Absorbing and entertaining June 2, 2011
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Life is like a glass of fine wine. There is that first sip and your senses are awakened, then as you drink, the aroma drifts around you and the taste and warmth of the liquid subdues, yet refreshes your senses and mind. As you near the end of your glass, you may well wish for more, just a little more.

Life is too short, just like a glass of wine. The memories we create, the people we meet and the things we do throughout our lives shape us into the persons we ultimately become. As we age, no matter how bad our hips ache or how blurry our eye-sight becomes, many of us still have the memories of a time that's passed, and the long ago experiences that are written on our very souls.

Matt Cutugno's first book, Winter Barbecue, is a story about life. Told from the view point of Cutugno's father, after whom the author was named, this memoir is a singular work of art. For Matt Sr., who is otherwise known as "Tug," life centers around fond memories of his wife Marie, memories of his World War II battles--and present day winter barbecues. A hard-working man, "Tug" has met old age and at 85 years, he knows his life is nearing its end. Throughout his last hours, memories flood his mind and times with past friends, family and acquaintances are recreated.

Written with such candor and a devoted disposition, Winter Barbecue is a marvelous recollection of the author's father and the cherished times they shared. Cutugno's words come to life with his descriptive storytelling, and his subtle humor allows for an absorbing read.

Each chapter begins with intriguing detail, such that the reader cannot help but to read on. The author's honest perspectives on life, along with his remarkable stories totally engross the reader; there's a connection with all the real-life characters.
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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great summer read: THE WINTER BARBECUE July 7, 2011
Format:Kindle Edition
Before the summer is over, put THE WINTER BARBECUE on your reading list.
Author, Matt Cutugno has written a very personal, honest and revealling recollection of his family focusing directly on his father and mother. Encapsulated in a 24-hour period is a lifetime of experiences, relationships and revelations unfolded. The writing style is direct, fresh and unlike anything I've ever read; full of exquisite detail and description with a terrific sense of humor. What takes Ayn Rand 9 pages to describe, Cutugno can provide in a few words, a sentence filled with great depth and dimension. This book delivers a complete, compelling and touching story written with an economy of words and one you should experience. It will leave you wanting to see what comes next from this fine innovative author.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Published 17 days ago by Melissa Matheny
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
a book
Published 3 months ago by bill
5.0 out of 5 stars Almost too near the truth
when you are 80+ it is all to easy to identify with this story. The many similarities to my own life is scary
Published 7 months ago by Reverend Stanleigh Fremont Chapin
5.0 out of 5 stars I loved it!
Old guys who live long enough can identify with this insightful book. I loved it!
Published 7 months ago by Dennis C. Sutherland
5.0 out of 5 stars sad but evocative tale of the human condition
Read the book in one sitting even though the subject matter of growing old with diminishing capacities is emotionally draining. Very powerful tale masterfully written.
Published 11 months ago by Mark W
4.0 out of 5 stars Good Read !!
I think anyone who served time in military or armed forces would very much enjoy this one ! Enjoyed it !
Published 13 months ago by Mervin Yoder
3.0 out of 5 stars The Winter Barbeque
Well.... It's different. It was rather sad. It was very well written though. But I do believe I could have done with out reading it. Read more
Published 13 months ago by me
2.0 out of 5 stars A Lousy Novel
I found this in the nonfiction section and expected a memoir. This has to be a novel, an attempt at literary fiction, and not a very good one. Read more
Published 13 months ago by Chris Cennedy
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful story
Loved this book.Matt Cutugno, thank you for helping me with closure! Gave me insight of what my father went thru taking care of my dear mother and his wife, Marie, who he was... Read more
Published 18 months ago by Robert Garman
4.0 out of 5 stars Inside an old man's mind.
This book drew me in and held my interest. I had the sense I was actually in this elderly man's mind, shifting seamlessly from memory, imagination, dreams and actual events. Read more
Published 18 months ago by Linda Bucklin
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More About the Author

I was born in Jersey and spent most of my life in Manhattan and Brooklyn. I attended Penn State and Florida State Universities. My plays have been done in New York and Los Angeles. I currently live in California.


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