Henry Molise, a fifty-year-old successful writer, returns to the family home to help with the latest drama; his elderly parents want to divorce. Henry’s tyrannical, bricklaying father, Nick, despite being weakened by age and alcoholism, can still strike fear into the hearts of his sons. His mother, ill and devoutly Catholic, still has the power both to comfort and confuse her children. Nick has been offered some well-paid work to build a smokehouse in the hills, and Henry, realising this might be the last chance they have to reconcile things, agrees to lend a hand. What he doesn’t appreciate is how much this journey is going to change his view of his father. The Brotherhood of the Grape is vintage Fante, brimming with love, death, violence and religion.
Writing with great passion, Fante powerfully describes the damage that family can wreak.
Canongate Books, 2005 (1977)