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Crossing Ocean Parkway

by Marianna De Marco Torgovnick

Born and raised in the Italian American enclave of Bensonhurst in Brooklyn, New York, Marianna De Marco Torgovnick left the neighborhood to attend prestigious colleges, eventually becoming an English professor at Duke University in North Carolina. Writing at such a distance from Bensonhurst, De Marco Torgovnick, in this collection of essays, touches upon issues of ethnicity and class, prejudice and exclusion, and does it all with insight, irony, and frequent flashes of humor. Her essays concerning her family, and especially her experience of giving birth to a child with a congenital heart defect, are very personal and touching, and her analysis of cultural trends and works of literature, including a startling look at the classic pop novel, The Godfather, are insightful.