Taking it Home
Finalist for the Paterson Fiction Prize
"These stories by Tony Ardizzone are distinguished by a quality that I have long admired in his writing: the solid way his fiction is grounded in the American experience. Ardizzone is a writer who writes out of love rather than anger or contempt, and his emotional palette is fittingly broad. Yet his great affection for his subjects never blinds him to the tough realities and inequalities of life on American streets; rather, it leads him to gaze more intently and to see deeper."
--- Stuart Dybeck "A must read for everyone, from the Italian American to the non-ethnic, from the casual reader to the literary critic, Taking It Home only confirms what we have seen thus far, that Tony Ardizzone belongs, for sure, to the upper echelon of contemporary United States writers."
---- Anthony Julian Tamburri "Wonderful! The collection contains an unusual mix of styles, from urban realism to comparatively experimental to sinister. It’s a fine collection of Chicago stories, but its real strength lies in its unnerving and thrilling use of point of view."
---- Paul Hoover ----University of Illinois jacket copy
"These tales of an Italian-American neighborhood on Chicago’s North Side during the 1950s and '60s go further than the usual picturesque ethnic memoir, with Ardizzone taking them that extra step through added complexity and carefully chosen language....All of these stories distinguish themselves through empathetic portrayals of unexceptional people described in exceptional language."
--- Publishers Weekly
"Tony Ardizzone’s neighborhood is the North Side of Chicago and, more specifically, the Italian Catholic neighborhoods that flourished there. In a dozen highly polished tales, Ardizzone describes a world that revolves around the church, the family, and work, in that order. Ardizzone’s characters are no strangers to tragedy, physical violence, or prejudice, but he writes about them from an attitude of affection, not anger or regret. These stories will have an appeal far beyond the 'friendly confines.'"
"Tony Ardizzone's most recent collection of short stories offers a glance into the ethnic, primarily working-class, world of Chicago, a world that the author suffuses with poetry and into which he injects his awareness of the tragedy that can invade the peaceful routine of daily living.... Ardizzone is one of a handful of writers who refuses to subscribe to formulaic or self-serving depictions of Italian Americans. What is striking about these stories is their portrayal of everyday life, of characters who might resemble your next-door neighbors: one can almost see their silhouettes framed by a door against the darkness of their houses, catching a train, driving their parents' cars at night, encountering the reader half-way between fiction and reality, while the author makes that encounter possible through his compassionate vision of the quotidian."
--- Voices in Italian Americana
"Tony Ardizzone is a sharp observer of the 'old neighborhoods'....Ardizzone gets the details right—and tells his stories with unblinking honesty, warmed by affection."
--- Chicago Sun-Times
"Tony Ardizzone does not blink in the face of misery. Many of the tales in Taking It Home concern characters whose lives have been marred, even ruined, by the strictures of Catholicism and the brutish disregard of parents and teachers. Set on the North Side of Chicago in the 1950s and '60s, these stories vividly evoke a time gone by and are nostalgic in the best sense of the word."
--- Prairie Schooner
" The surprises in these stories arise less from plot than from the unfolding of their metaphors. A further appeal lies in the ambitious range of the characters and the details of social observation. Focused on a single setting, like Dubliners or Winesburg, Ohio, the book draws a map of Chicago, and portrays the dress, the architecture, the manners of that city's groups. "Baseball Fever," "Idling," and especially "The Language of the Dead" were my own favorites, stories whose cry against injustice still rings in my ears."
-- Italian Americana