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Painting the Invisible Man Paperback – October 1, 2008
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"Painting the Invisible Man" is a courageous book by a courageous writer. --Anne D. LeClaire, author of "Listening Below The Noise" and "The Lavender Hour"<br /> "Painting The Invisible Man" is both touching and even humorous at times. I found myself rooting for Anna, hoping she not only discovered who her father was, but found herself and her own happiness as well. Rita Schiano has proven herself to be a powerful, talented storyteller. -- --Shelfari Author Review Much like the character in the book, [Schiano] set out to paint this portrait of [her] father...the story is a personal journey, it encompasses universal themes of forgiveness, atonement and redemption." --Pamela Sacks, Worcester Telegram & Gazette <br />Rita Schiano, like much of the country, watched the series finale of "The Sopranos" on HBO last night. But unlike most of the country, Schiano probably had a better idea of what was going to happen. That's because she's lived it... -- The Southbridge Evening News Schiano's novel...leads the main character on a heart-wrenching personal journey into her family's hidden past, a journey that abounds with gangland murders, dangerous hitmen, and long-buried family secrets. --Brendan Berube, The Baysider<br /><br />Rita Schiano, like much of the country, watched the series finale of "The Sopranos" on HBO last night. But unlike most of the country, Schiano probably had a better idea of what was going to happen. That's because she's lived it... -- The Southbridge Evening News Schiano's novel...leads the main character on a heart-wrenching personal journey into her family's hidden past, a journey that abounds with gangland murders, dangerous hitmen, and long-buried family secrets. --Brendan Berube, The Baysider
"Painting the Invisible Man" is a historical fiction novel about an ordinary writer drawn into conducting research on the world of father, a man murdered in a gangland-style hit more than two decades ago. The deeper she immerses herself in the painful and unresolved past, the more obsessed she becomes with uncovering the truth about her father, whom she thinks of as The Invisible Man. Written with razor-sharp wit, "Painting the Invisible Man" is an absorbing tale that smoothly blends the quest for truth with the complexities of a self-portrait. ----Midwest Book Review
Rita Schiano's novel is, unfortunately, based on her father s 1976 murder. Boasting a conversational prose style spiced with 1970s allusions (Jethro Tull, Muhammad Ali, The Man from U.N.C.L.E. ), Schiano's story flows smoothly even as she swings rhythmically from present-day action to flashback. The use of italics to denote either flashbacks or inner thought is especially effective in keeping readers on track. While the gangland rub-out drives the book, it's less a mystery and more a coming-of-age story, Rita's own. She's represented here as the novel s narrator, Anna Matteo. We get to know the youthful Anna, a wiseacre who talks back to her teachers, carries a pellet gun in a shoulder holster under her school jacket and reads books such as "Compulsion." And we get to know the 21st century Anna who, due to a computer-era twist of fate, finds herself reliving the whys and wherefores of her dad's untimely death two decades past. With its finely drawn characters, snappy streetwise dialogue and suspenseful action running through Italian neighborhoods, churches, restaurants, schools and police stations, "Painting the Invisible Man" is both readable and rewarding. <br /> ----Russ Tarby, Eagle Newspapers
From the Publisher
Based on a true event. Fans of "The Soprano's" and this genre will find "Painting The Invisible Man" intriguing. Schiano reaches deep into the depths of her emotions to offer an inside look at what it's like to grow up in different kind of family.
Top customer reviews
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Most novels I'd describe as easy-breezy reads. I enjoy them, love to discuss them, and then want to move on. But Rita Schiano's book touched me in a place I rarely disclose to the public. The main character, Anna Matteo, hits a point in her life where she must come face to face with her past. Twenty years earlier, her father was murdered and she ran away and closed off a part of herself. Now, Anna stumbles across articles related to her father and she's ready to go back and understand what happened the day her father was murdered.
As Anna follows the trail that exposes Paulie Matteo's ties with the mob, she realizes she didn't know her father at all. Anna says...
"In my attempt to paint the portrait of my Invisible Man, I realize that I will, at best, end up with a representation that is a semblance of my father. What led him ultimately down that path to hell I will never know. But what I have painted thus far--from memory, from talks with those who knew his life only through his death--was a portrait of a man whose heart was good, but whose soul was tainted."
"What I did not realize, however, was that two other portraits would emerge. The first was a picture of a man I had drawn on my youth, only to discover now that I had not painted him with true colors. And I knew I couldn't retouch this canvas from memory. I needed to see the subject again."
To make this book stand out even more, the book is based on actual events in the author's life. Rita Schiano speaks candidly with a group of Shelfari.com members:
"The story is influenced by the 1976 murder of my father. Like the character Anna, I was researching the archives of my hometown newspaper for a client, and I made a keying error. I accidentally charged ten articles instead of one to my credit card. After retrieving my client's news article, I began typing in names of people I knew that still lived in Syracuse. Why I typed my father's name, I'll never know."
"Here's what I found....Thirty-seven articles from the 1990s that referenced my father. It wouldn't have been all that strange had my father not died in 1976."
"The headline that caught my attention was one that mentioned FBI surveillance tapes of the man who was acquitted of my father's murder, bragging about getting away with murder twenty years before. At that moment I knew I had to explore this story."
"We decided to position the book as contemporary historical fiction rather than as a memoir for this reason: After the James Frey debacle, memoir was a fearsome word to me. For much of the story I had to rely on my memory and the recollections of people involved with the trials. Fiction gave me the freedom to create a compelling story."
Schiano's has a unique way of expressing emotion on paper, so much so that I wanted to read more of her books.
Anna found much information from trial manuscripts, newspaper story microfilm's of the news from the trials of the man that was found innocent of her fathers murder, and through current and older friends that had knowledge of her father and his acquaintances during past years. The deeper she got the more wonderment she collected in her mind as to how her father could have done the things mentioned during those trials. As hard as this information was for her to digest, she figured it had to be true since so many people had the knowledge of the many activities of her father and his friends and acquaintances.
Anna also went to many of her family members to feel them out. She also had a personal life that was different knowing she actually liked the same sex and despite her feelings for years she wasn't always sure until she met "the" certain one. During the course of the story Jacqueline was that one. She had met her while researching in the library going through many microfilms and was thrilled to have the head librarian help her and love her socially. Many of the transcripts convinced Anna that her father had deep connections with the mob, many of whom she had met and had been given money here and there just because she was Paulie's daughter and they liked her so much. Several times she connected the dots and was startled now to realize what had been going on.
The story goes back and forth from Anna's days of youth and her life with her parents and other family members to current days as she researched the many files and met with all the connected people she could find. Painting The Invisible Man is an intriguing story that delves deep in the life of mobsters and what they are capable of doing. I enjoyed it quite well.
Most recent customer reviews
Painting the Invisible Man
Opening this book is very like opening a gift.Read more
Anna Matteo is a writer, who delves into her past looking for answers to her father's...Read more