|They Say is a novel about a working-class, first-generation Italian family living in the Boston area in the first half of the 20th century, centering on the family’s struggles over oldest brother Louie, whose early artistic genius and political passions deteriorate into delusion and severe mental illness. Narrated by various siblings in this sprawling family, their stories have the intimacy and drama of a conversation told around the kitchen tableand like any living, breathing family tale, the brothers’ and sisters’ stories intersect, run parallel, contradict each other, fill in each other’s gaps. Theirs are stories of love and luck, as well as poverty, death, illness, and domestic abuse.
“[They Say] reads like a string of interviews delivered in broken English. That gives it a documentary-style authenticity a good way to juice up the tale of a struggling Italian-American family in Boston... Torra’s characters speak in an almost poetic cadence...” Boston Magazine
Read a review of They Say in Prick of the Spindle.
Praise for Joseph Torra’s previous publications:
“If words were lug nuts, he’d spin them in ways the guys down at the garage never dreamed of.” New York Times Book Review
“A brilliant read.” Esquire
“…brings it all back to where it came from.” Robert Creeley
“The way Mr. Torra flows from one event to another, to a memory, to an observation is quite an accomplishment... this book is always a joy to read.” Hubert Selby Jr.
“[Part of a]n entire prose tradition that includes everyone from Kerouac to Creeley to Melville...” Ron Silliman