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Earthquake I.D.

John Domini

Publication Year: 2007

The first novel in John Domini's Naples trilogy, Earthquake I.D. appeared in spring '07. Set in a famously troubled and romantic Southern Italian seaport, following the next earthquake, the story combines family and social crises with an element of fantasy and pervasive humor. The novel won wide critical praise and was nominated for a Pulitzer and other prizes. Richard Ford, an earlier Pulitzer winner, called it "a wonderful novel of an old-fashioned sort...a rich feast." Steve Erickson, author of Zeroville, called Domini "a writer of the world, with a deft talent for negotiating the currents of our age."In April 2009, an Italian translation appeared, under the title Terremoto Napoletano. Again reviews have been strong.

Published by: Red Hen Press

Title Page, Copyright, Acknowledgments, Dedication

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Chapter One

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pp. 1-12

One good look at Naples on a map and Barbara began to wonder. This was weeks before the family got on a plane. Barb was still running the kids to springtime activities, and her husband, Jay, was tying up loose ends with Viccieco & Sons. One Friday her husband called from midtown to say he’d catch the later Bridgeport local, and when he ...

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Chapter Two

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pp. 13-28

Whenever Barbara had imagined the end of her marriage—and today she was coming to realize how often she’d done it—she’d pictured it happening anywhere but Italy. Americans in Italy, that was a different story. A story with a happy ending, in which some tightly-wound Anglo arrives in this sultry country, more than halfway to Africa, and rediscovers the joy ...

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Chapter Three

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pp. 29-45

A lepers’ city, a city full of crooks, a city for the end of everything . . . no. The Naples Barbara encountered over the next couple of days proved impossible to label and file away. At times it did seem a city of prayers. But more often she could be certain only of the appearance of prayers. ...

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Chapter Four

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pp. 46-72

... Around them the landscape seesawed, here a scabbed, balsitic ridge and there the grass velvet of a creek plain. Across the more level areas sauntered the buffalo, hefty-shouldered and brick-brown, their horns like question marks. The NATO caravan had first taken the family through the Phlegrean Fields, north of the city—a low-rising ...

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Chapter Five

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pp. 73-95

... Cesare’s look turned sober again, and the mother stopped nodding. God knows, today’s visit must seem strange. It wasn’t a week yet since the Refugee Center, the second “healing episode,” and every evening before dinner Barbara had arranged for time with the old man. Today they occupied their usual pew, a couple of rows back from the altar to the New Age, and the priest lounged as comfortably as ...

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Chapter Six

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pp. 96-119

This morning, the Lieutenant Major wouldn’t be joining them. His absence made it happen, Barbara’s plan, her revolution. After all, yesterday she’d heard the man loud and clear: him or Romy. Today then the officer would follow through. But on the other hand he’d set up the day’s itinerary a week ago now; everyone in the family ...

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Chapter Seven

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pp. 120-149

The days that followed, the days and the nights, had Barbara thinking often of her childhood visits to Manhattan. Bedtime had felt different over at her mother’s cousins’ place off Lafayette. That branch of the family lived with another world of night noise. Little Barba-bella had come across the East River before her mother ran away, but it was ...

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Chapter Eight

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pp. 150-173

Barbara began to have doubts as soon as she met Mrs. Roebuck, Attaché to the American Consulate and the family’s unasked-for “new liaison to the overseas community.” The introduction took place hardly twenty-five hours after the mother had stumbled onto Silky Kahlberg’s final salaam. Fast work, and either NATO or the Consulate set limits on the police investigation as well. After the city ...

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Chapter Nine

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pp. 174-189

They had a bigger crew these days, with Jay’s mother. They had more on their hands than ever, really. Not that they didn’t go through another spell of cocooning, sticking close to home throughout most of the first four or five days after Mom and Pop came home from downtown. Immediately after the meeting, Jay and Barbara ...

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Chapter Ten

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pp. 190-213

But Jay’s and Barb’s whispering in their dim bedroom, loving yet ascetic—what did it amount to out in the bright Mezzogiorno? Soon—what? The damages heaped around them remained the same. Barbara might claim that these days constituted a “change of life,” a play on words she used a time or two with her husband or priest. But ...

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Chapter Eleven

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pp. 214-233

... Barbara crossed her arms, seeing Paul as a movie star, the computer’s flat screen making more of his lips and eyelashes. She hadn’t known that this was how the editing would work. She hadn’t understood that she would watch it happening, rewinds and cuts and freeze-frames, all handled with a wireless mouse and biomorphic ...

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Chapter Twelve

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pp. 234-257

... Aurora heaved a showy sigh, a movement that called attention to how small she was. Barefoot, in a flimsy kimono, the old playgirl barely came to Barbara’s chin. She wouldn’t get into a staring contest either. Instead the grandmother looked to Cesare, still flat on the sofa. One of the boys had covered the priest with a summer bedspread. ...

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Chapter Thirteen

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pp. 258-278

From the church to the waterfront seemed a single downward acceleration. The whining transmission and the lumpish embrace— she was pinned against Jay, head down, sinuses burning from the kidnappers’ crude anesthetics—all this took Barbara back to her mother’s cousin’s, in lower Manhattan. The cramp recalled the sofabed above ...

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Chapter Fourteen

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pp. 279-286

If she’d thought for a moment that these two were anything other than the scippatori from their first morning in town, if it so much as crossed her mind that they were cops or Camorra, Barbara couldn’t remember. It seemed as if at once she’d put together the clues, if you could call them clues. She’d picked out the blue bandanna before the two scrawny creatures ...

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Chapter Fifteen

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pp. 287-306

The Refugee Lazarus had come back to his idea about a video. “Our arrangement, madame?” Barbara couldn’t follow him at first, instead staring at his long-toed feet, before which Jay had turtled down over the automatics, indulging himself in a one-man Demolition Derby. The husband sent black bits and pieces ...

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About the Author

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John Domini has won awards in all genres, including a fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Meridian Editors’ Prize. He has published fiction in Paris Review, Ploughshares, and anthologies, non-fiction in GQ, the New York Times, and elsewhere, ...


E-ISBN-13: 9781597093989
Print-ISBN-13: 9781597090766
Print-ISBN-10: 159709076X

Page Count: 320
Publication Year: 2007

Edition: First

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