Saturday, January 25, 2014

Feast of the Seven Fishes by Robert Tinnell and Alex Saviuk

Robert Tinnell and Alex Saviuk's Feast of the Seven Fishes has taken on a life of its own.  It began as Mr. Tinnell's Italian-American family's story of Christmas Eve, preparing seven fish dishes.  It became a graphic-novel, or comic strip, telling such an engaging story, appreciated by so many, that it may even become a film.

This book is the entire comic strip that originally appeared on-line, gathered together in what is called a graphic-novel, a hard-bound comic.  Included with the strip are recipes, courtesy of Robert Tinnell's wife, Shannon.  There are 15 recipes, not all fish recipes.  There is a Foreword by Steve Geppi, and a section by Robert Tinnell discussing his inspirations for the story.  The book is 92 pages in all.

I found it to be a fun read.  And besides getting recipes for that I used for my own Italian Christmas Eve, I had a fun book for the family to read while digesting.  Be aware that there is some suggestive language, so it is not a book for small children.

The Author

Writer, film-maker, Robert Tinnell, grew up in the small town of Rivesville, West Virginia, in an extended, Italian-American family.  His comic strip/graphic novel are based on his experiences. Here is an excerpt from his personal story that is included in the graphic-novel (with some paraphrasing).
The story of the fictional Oliverios, for all its ethnic flavor, is an American story.  I really want to explore how it is we became so assimilated.  It's fascinating that while many of us in the family aren't even Catholic, don't even have Italian last names, we still carry on this [the Fish Feast on Christmas Eve] and other traditions that have been practiced by our family for centuries.  We do it for the fun and the fact it makes us feel closer to loved ones both living and dead.

Here are some samples from the book:

The story features a mixed-background romance.

It also features a hyphenated Italian family in West Virginia, U. S. A., that enjoys the Feast of Seven Fishes on Christmas Eve.  The men cook while the family spends the evening together in chaos, love, food, laughter, talk, and all with a sprinkling of romance.

And it features an Italian-born grandmother who still holds sway over family affairs. Link:

Please visit the author's blog, and the book's website.

This review is by Candida Martinelli, of Candida Martinelli's Italophile Site, and the author of the cozy-murder-mystery novel AN EXTRA VIRGIN PRESSING MURDER, and the young-adult/adult mystery novel series THE VIOLET STRANGE MYSTERIES the first book of which is VIOLET'S PROBLEM.

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