A small, incongruous man receives an excruciating piece of news. His son has died in a POW camp in Korea. It is August 15, 1953, the day of a tumultuous street carnival in Elephant Park, an Italian immigrant enclave in Ohio. The man is Rocco LaGrassa, and his many years of dogged labor, paternal devotion, and steadfast Christian faith are about to come to a crashing end. He is the first of many exquisitely drawn characters we meet that day, each of whom will come to their own conclusion.
The End follows an elderly abortionist, an enigmatic drapery seamstress, a teenage boy, a jeweler into the heart of a crime that will twist all their lives.
Against a background of immigration, broken loyalties, and racial hostility, we at last return to August 15, 1953, and see everything Rocco saw - and vastly more - through the eyes of various characters in the crowds.
The End is the unforgettable debut of a singular new American novelist.
A bit too self consciously cerebral for me at the expense of the story. Some interesting characters cleverly woven together but not quite engaging enough as a whole to keep it all together. Might be better in print than listening.