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A Safe Place

Lorenzo Carcaterra

Average Review Rating Average Rating 8/10 (1 Review)
Book Details

Publisher : Arrow

Published : 1997

Copyright : Lorenzo Carcaterra 1992

ISBN-10 : PB 0-09-925707-6
ISBN-13 : PB 978-0-09-925707-3

Publisher's Write-Up

'It's time you knew the truth;' she said. 'About your father'

'What about him?'

'His first wife,' she said. 'She didn't die of cancer.'

'How did she die?'

'He murdered her.'

Before there was Sleepers, Lorenzo Carcaterra survived a very different kind of nightmare in his own home in Hell's Kitchen, New York. For behind closed doors he and his mother survived the erratic, violent outbursts of his father.

A powerful father who tempered his rage with affection. To a young boy he was a man both to love and to fear. Until Lorenzo learned a shattering fact that forever changed his life. His father was a murderer.

'Unforgettable... a remarkable book.'


'Dramatic, graphic and wrenching.'

The Washington Post

'Haunting, fast-paced.'


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Reader Reviews

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Review by Chrissi (301200) Rating (8/10)

Review by Chrissi
Rating 8/10
This is the personal story of the man who wrote the book 'Sleepers', which was made into a film with Brad Pitt and Kevin Bacon. This poor bloke has had a right time of it, and this is a different part of his story. This was written after Sleepers, and tells of his relationship with his father, and how he found out that his father murdered his first wife. This is against a backdrop of regular and vicious abuse of his then present wife, Lorenzo's mother.

It is a difficult story to read and was probably difficult for him to write, as it deals with family life and his upbringing in an Italian-American family in rough areas of New York. He tells stories of men who kill drug dealers for speaking to their children and at the same time, of those same men pushing and cheering their children in gang fights to show how brave they are whilst drinking beers and watching.

This is a world where men are in charge and domestic violence is the norm, of summer nights where people sleep with the windows open and you can hear them beating women and children. He tells of the injuries done to his mother and the excuses given at the hospital. He also tells of how his mother refused to leave this man who had made her life so difficult and how they threw a big street party when they moved to another part of New York.

There are episodes in this book where the violence is almost palpable, and yet it is not overly dramatised. It is told in a matter of fact way that is much more real. He deals with his relationship with his father from idolisation to fear, with the highs and lows, in such a manner as to make you feel very well acquainted with Lorenzo himself, but his father remains an enigma. After all, this is not the story of the father, but of his son's relationship with him. It is truly riveting, well written, if a bit rambling, and all the more disturbing for being a true story. I am unsure of the 'safe place' of the title, but from his dedication, he has found his with his own family. I hope so.
Chrissi (30th December 2000)

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