Review Blog

May 12 2014

Dead dog in the still of the night by Archimede Fusillo

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Ford Street Publishing, 2014. ISBN: 9781925000344.
Recommended for readers 13 years +. Highly recommended for boys. Themes: Families, Teenage Boys. Primo Nato is struggling with a host of personal issues in addition to his year 12 study. We learn early in the story that Primo's father is in a nursing home with dementia. His father had previously operated an automotive mechanics business and Primo had always coveted his father's pride and joy - a red Fiat Bambino. Dead Dog In The Still Of The Night starts on a bright note with Primo having just passed his driving test and obtained his licence. An ill-fated decision to borrow the Bambino without permission ends badly when Primo has an argument with his girlfriend and subsequently crashes the car.
Primo tries to conceal the accident until he can afford the repairs but his efforts to raise the funds set in motion a series of events which, as they unfold, reveal much about Primo's tumultuous family. We are introduced to his long suffering mother whom his father had cheated on numerous times; his eldest brother Santo who is 20 years senior to his siblings and who believes he is the heir who should inherit both the Bambino and his father's business; his brother Adrian who is separated from his wife and young daughter after following his father's philandering ways; and his sister Kath who moved out of home to escape her family's past and present issues.
Set in a working class part of Fitzroy, Archimede Fusillo's book has crafted a vivid picture of a family in hard times and the surroundings in which they live. Ultimately the story reflects the growth in Primo's character and although his circumstances remain unchanged his way of looking at life does. Developing a better understanding of his family and friends enables him to make positive decisions about his future direction.
Nicki Paterson

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