New York New York

This is the piece that I wrote for the photo prompt I posted last Saturday πŸ™‚

Stefano arrived in New York with 50 dollars in his pocket, a back pack and a small scrap of paper, on which his Mama had written his uncles address.

He soon found the restaurant, Casa Mia, along a road filled with Italian Deli’s, shops and Cafe’s. He pushed open the heavy oak door.

“Stefano!” An elderly man with white hair rushed towards him and enveloped him in a welcoming embrace.

“Uncle Roberto?”

“My boy, my boy, si, si.”

Stefano returned the hug and began to talk in Italian, but Roberto held up his hand.

“No Stefano, English, we is in America now.”

“Sorry uncle, you received Mama’s letter?”

“Yes, yes, please, sit.” Roberto put his arm around Stefano’s shoulders and guided him to a chair. As he sat down opposite he shook his head.

“Such a catastrophe, such a sad event that you should come here.”

Stefano hung his head, he could feel the tears pricking his eyes.

“Your father was a good man, yes? A good man for my sister.” He sighed. “But, this has brought you to me, yes? Your Mama says you can cook?”

“I…err…well, a little uncle.”

Roberto laughed. “Ahhhh…no more farming for you Stefano. Now, you come to America, be famous chef, yes?”

It was now Stefano’s turn to laugh. “We’ll see uncle, we’ll see.”

photo courtesy of Carlos Porto/freedigitalphotos

I have a bit of a thing about Italians, have you noticed? Lol πŸ˜‰ Must be something to do with my Italian blood (my great grandparents were Italian Trapeze artists….how cool is that?).

Anyway, I like Stefano, I think this one could definitely end up a very happy story (that makes a change!!!!!!). I’m thinking Stefano turns out to be an excellent chef and really turns the restaurant around. But his cousin (Giovanni) is not happy (bit of conflict is always good)
and is worried that Roberto will hand the business over to Stefano (as he’s getting a bit too old to run the place). What actually happens in the end is anyone’s guess πŸ˜‰

But, how did the dialogue seem? Any tips to getting across an Italian accent would be much appreciated πŸ™‚

Edited to add commas as per Dianne’s suggestion – See below

21 thoughts on “New York New York

  1. I could totally picture Uncle Roberto and young Stefano. I love Italians, too. I was working on an idea about a chef. It’s so much fun to put my years of watching top chef and cooking shows into a story. Haha.


  2. I could really picture the setting and the dialogue was great. I really got a clear image of Uncle Roberto. I loved him saying, “English, we is in America now.” That was true of earlier immigrants coming to this country, not so much now, so I’m going to say the timeframe is in the late 1800s or early 1900s??? Little Italy? I have an image of Leonardo DeCaprio playing Stefano and he’s dressed in the same style clothes as those he wore in Titanic or Gangs of New York. Am I anywhere close? πŸ™‚


    • Thanks Jenny πŸ™‚

      Do you know what, I’m going to be totally honest here, I didn’t even think of a time era for it, but as soon as you said all that I was like, yeah! πŸ™‚ something about it being in the past must have been in my mind because the Uncle received a letter. In today’s society, if someone dies, you’d phone, surely?

      Ha ha ha, Leonardo DeCaprio….ooooo, definitely! πŸ™‚



  3. I thought the dialogue worked quite well! I’ve read that accents can be overdone, to the point that they are no longer easy to understand. Yours was easy to follow, and I like how you changed the word order around to give a feeling of a dialect without actually changing the pronunciations.
    Nicely done. πŸ™‚


  4. Wow – trapeze artists! That’s an interesting ancestry you have there – no wonder you have a thing for Italians πŸ˜€

    I think the dialogue is excellent. My favorite author (Salman Rushdie) writes dialogue like this. A great example is when Roberto says β€œwe is in America now” – if Roberto uses ‘is’ intead of ‘are’ again there is no need to point to the fact that Roberto is speaking because he has this particular idiosyncrasy. Rushdie does it beautifully and most of the dialogue in his books is completely clear because you always know who is speaking.

    The only other thing I would say about the dialogue is to put a comma before the β€˜yes’ (at the end of the sentences) when Roberto is speaking.

    This is a very good excerpt and I want to know what happened and what will happen now.

    I’m just about to put a post up now about the tag β€˜Look’. I’ve included you in my list (this may be a good opportunity for you to post more of this story) – but if you don’t want to run with it, I completely understand πŸ˜€


    • He he he, I KNOW! I was amazed when I found out! I’ve seen a pic of them, but, unfortunately it was in the days before scanners, so I didn’t get a copy 😦

      Thanks Dianne πŸ™‚ I’ve only read The Ground Beneath Her Feet but didn’t notice the dialogue really (but that was back in the days before I was writing myself), so I will definitely check out some more Rushdie πŸ™‚

      Ah, yes, I see what you’re saying about the comma πŸ™‚

      Ooooo, thanks honey, will go see πŸ™‚



  5. I think the dialogue works really well. You got in a lot of back story there, just in a few lines – we already know so much about Stephano from this short conversation. Very clever expostition, and I agree with comments above that you pitch it just right re accent, letting the reader get a flavour of it without going too far. x


  6. My last book had Italian characters, so I did lots of research with my Italian friends here in Toronto. I have a couple of suggestions: Uncle Roberto should be Zio Roberto, Mama is Mamma. Even now, a nephew would always preface his uncle’s name with the Italian honorific. Of course, it could be different in NY. Your fractured English is great. I also wonder where Stefano has learned English. Back in the day, a poor farm boy wouldn’t have the opportunity. I love the beginning of this story and can’t wait to see the rest.


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