In a sad but loving tribute to his Sicilian-Italian heritage, Marco Rafala’s debut novel How Fires End (Little A, 2019) centers on the haunting legacy of WWII on the people of a small Sicilian village. It’s the summer of 1943 and an unexploded mortar shell kills 9-year-old Salvatore’s twin brothers. His faith is destroyed, and his family unravels, fueling fear that the Vassallo name is cursed. Salvatore and his sister, Nella, accept the help of a fascist Italian soldier, Vincenzo, who accompanies them to a new life in America. But the three of them make the choice to keep their secrets hidden, and years later in America, Salvatore’s son, David, is swept up in the chaotic aftermath of their hidden pasts. This is a story about loyalty, family, and forgiveness.
Marco Rafalà is a first-generation Sicilian American, novelist, musician, and writer for award-winning tabletop role-playing games (e.g. The One Ring). He earned his MFA in fiction from The New School and is a co-curator of the Guerrilla Lit Reading Series in New York City. His fiction and non-fiction have appeared in the Bellevue Literary Review and LitHub. Born in Middletown, Connecticut, he now lives in Brooklyn, New York. And when not working, reading or writing, Rafalà loves walking in the cemetery with his partner.
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