The Evening News
Winner of the Flannery O'Connor Award for Short Fiction
Tony Ardizzone writes of the moments in our lives that shine, that burn in the dim expanse of memory with the intensity and vivid light of the evening news. The men and women in these stories tend to arrange their days, order their pasts, plan their futures in the light of such moments, finding epiphanies in the glowing memory of a father's laugh or a mother's repeated story, in a broken date or a rained-out ball game.
Set mostly in Chicago's blue-collar neighborhoods, these stories focus on subjects that concern us all: disease and death, vandalism and sacrilege, rape and infidelity, lost love. The husband and wife in the title story look at their pasts—his as an activist in the sixties and hers as a believer in reincarnation and the tarot—in light of the news stories they watch on television each evening and question whether they should bring a child into the world. In "The Walk-On," a bartender and former varsity pitcher for the University of Illinois Fighting Illini finds the actual events of the most cataclysmic day in his past unequal to their impact on his life and so rewrites them in his mind, adding an ill-placed banana peel, a falling meteor, and a careening truck in order to create a more fitting climax and finally to leave those memories behind him.
Searching their pasts for clues to the present, searching the horizons of their days for love, the characters in The Evening News seek, and sometimes find, redemption in a world of uncertainty and brightly burning emotions.
--- University of Georgia Press jacket copy
"The short story is enjoying a remarkable renaissance, attracting young writers who are crafting tales as fine as those of Fitzgerald and Hemingway, Updike and Cheever. Among the best of these young writers is Tony Ardizzone....Ardizzone writes a strong, spare prose that quickly sketches characters and situations, yet his work is invested with a deep humanism that compels the reader to see his characters as people—people you care about."
-- The Seattle Times
"The stories in The Evening News include rich, detailed reminiscences of his family's history, memories of growing up Catholic in Chicago, moving adolescent dramas, plus ‘60s-style Nabokovian black humor and irony....Ardizzone mines fresh fictional veins and displays a stunning stylistic range. These stories are encouraging in the best sense of the word. Things that matter are at stake. In his willingness to take on powerful subjects, Mr. Ardizzone is almost too hot for the cooled-out ‘80s."
-- The Washington Times
"Most of the eleven short stories are set in Ardizzone's native Chicago and at that in the gritty, ethnic sections of the city in whose wards the likes of Mayor Daley, Mike Royko, Terkel and Nelson Algren would be spiritually at home....These are tough, menacing stories in which fate and memory exercise their Hardylike sway, all narrated in a variety of inventive and accomplished voices."
-- The San Francisco Examiner
"Ardizzone's style and method of narration vary with each story, so we never feel that we're being treated with more of the same. Though deceptively simple on the surface, his stories require close attention because they ripple with understated meanings and effects that striate the surface texture....In short, he touches on life as he has experienced and observed it and then dives beneath the surface, but always with a kind of grace and style that marks him as a thoughtful and skilled practitioner of the art of fiction."
"So much of what gets written about big cities concerns only the extremes—the filthy rich and the dirt poor. With few exceptions, writers routinely ignore the vast expanse of situations and characters in between. Count Tony Ardizzone, who was born and raised on Chicago's North Side, among the exceptions. His collection of eleven short stories, The Evening News, strikes at the heart of working-class and middle-class urban living."
-- Chicago Tribune
"This first-rate first collection of short fiction is blessed by several shining moments of epiphany in the most routine settings...All the stories are intensely told and skillfully written. Ardizzone has a special capacity for appreciating the values of home and family, of ethnic pride and humor, and of street smarts. These stories are worth having and knowing well."
-- Chicago Magazine