Release Date: March 14, 2017
Joseph Di Prisco’s anticipated memoir brings the hustler, gambler, criminal, bookmaker, and confidential informer—Joe’s father—back to life, and reveals the fascinating and unsettling truths that simultaneously bound and separated father and son. On the street they called him Pope, and he made his bones in Brooklyn during the ’50s and ’60s when Joe was a kid and had more questions about his dad than he would dare ask. Later, when Di Prisco accidentally discovered fifty-year-old transcripts of New York State Appellate Division trials, where his dad was the star witness against corrupt NYPD cops—cops with whom he collaborated—Pope’s hazardous, veiled, twisted past was finally illuminated. The Pope of Brooklyn is both sequel and prequel to his much-praised memoir, Subway to California. Enlightened by these disclosures, Di Prisco flawlessly traces how secrets once revealed led to even deeper mysteries both for himself and for the reader.
Fathers, Sons And Little Scraps Of Wisdom: Joseph Di Prisco’s The Pope Of Brooklyn
“…our fathers teach us at odd moments, when they aren’t trying to teach us,” Umberto Eco once wrote. “We are formed by little scraps of wisdom.”
Joseph Di Prisco’s new memoir The Pope Of Brooklyn is no better example of Eco’s sentiment and then some. As he pieces together his father’s secret history, Di Prisco comes to terms with his own.
But let me back up.
Di Prisco’s last effort, the rollicking and deeply moving novel The Alzhammer, was a winning piece of fiction about Alzheimer’s and the mob and though The Pope Of Brooklyn is a memoir, it contains similar elements–Di Prisco’s father had ties to the mob and later succumbed to Alzheimer’s.
But The Pope Of Brooklyn, which is a companion piece to Di Prisco’s first memoir Subway To California, isn’t really about the mob, or Alzheimer’s or even Brooklyn. It’s about fathers and sons, the past and the present and making sense of them both while staring down an uncertain future.
In the book, Di Prisco stumbles across transcripts dating back fifty years from the New York State Division trials which detailed his father testifying against corrupt NYPD cops. As a result, questions he had about his father’s past, questions that kicked against the normal life his family was now living in California (which found his father driving a dairy truck), start to get answered.
And as Di Prisco comes to terms with what he learns, he also trains a critical eye on himself, and in an unflinching, honest and open-hearted manner, the author opens up about his own life–his troubles, his triumphs and more of his troubles until in the end, he realizes that fathers and sons are all “separated by their truthfulness.”
Di Prisco may have ended up in California when he was a young man, but his home state of New York is coursing through his blood. It’s in his DNA. It’s in his soul.
"A literary son traces his fugitive father in a pulpy yet cerebral memoir. . . This sprawling narrative is punctuated by Di Prisco's reflections on literature, faith, mortality, and his own tangled romances and outré experiences...Deft, amusing, and tough.”