The Right Thing To Do
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JOSEPHINE GATTUSO HENDIN, who grew up in Queens and now lives in Manhattan, is a professor of English at New York University. A former Guggenheim Fellow, Hendin is the author of many critical works. Her book Vulnerable People: A View of American Fiction Since 1945 was an ALA notable book of the year.

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The Right Thing To Do

Josephine Gattuso Hendin

Afterword by Mary Jo Bona

On a stroll in his Queens neighborhood, Sicilian-born Nino Giardello glimpses his daughter, ambitious nineteen-year-old Gina, heading for the subway. Silently, he follows her to Manhattan and watches, outraged, as she walks into the arms of a golden-haired stranger. The incident confirms Nino's worst suspicions about his decidedly American daughter. It also challenges Nino's power as capofamiglia, a disruption to his ideas about family life, and an insult to his heritage. In a struggle that exceeds all boundaries, including death, father and daughter will engage in a conflict of generations that is likewise a conflict of cultures.

"Hendin's novelistic skill emerges in her portrait of the tyrannical father Nino—one of the memorable characters of recent fiction."

—Alix Kates Shulman

"The Right Thing to Do effectively portrays both New York's Italian immigrant milieu and one man's rage at his own powerlessness in the face of his child's hunger for life."


"Father Nino is an interesting character—overbearing but not coarse, not the undershirted whassamattayou of the stereotype. . . . Hendin has invested her novel with familial dignity . . . credibility and intelligence."

Kirkus Reviews