Born into a Mafia family with Italian-Israeli roots, Adrian Amato is a New York-based equity trader and unrepentant pothead who devises a plot to both avenge his mother’s murder and ignite a revolution against corporations in the United States by causing an economic meltdown of the stock market. That’s a bold premise for any novel.
Adrian is both a dreamer and a realist, a conflicted personality gleefully exploited by author Joseph V. Pregadio throughout the novel. As a boy, Adrian witnessed his mother’s murder at the hands of Salvatore Carini. Adrian has never forgotten what he saw that fateful day, and he wants Carini to pay with his life. As an adult, he’s sickened by the corporate greed he sees around him and, with the help of his brother-in-law, is determined to change how America operates. His brother-in-law becomes a believer in Adrian’s cause and helps him on the road toward altering America forever.
Adrian’s story is a thoroughly American story of a passionate and iron-willed individualist whose vision for his country is both fearless and frightening. The recent real-world collapse of several major U.S. corporations and the federal government’s bailout program provide the fuel for Pregadio’s novel. The book explores what might happen if the U.S. financial fortress actually fell down and didn’t get up again. Adrian equates market trading to a super-high or a kind of spiritual ecstasy that, in the novel’s climax, borders very closely on a sociopathic thrill fulfillment. Adrian Amato is an anti-hero, make no mistake, but his enemies are far worse.
Pregadio combines prose and poetry in Lamb’s Bread: A Marijuana Fueled American Revolutionary, creating an elegant and seamless narrative with incredible muscularity. For an apparent first-time novelist, his story is the literary equivalent of Athena bursting from the forehead of Zeus. This is a book to read for the joy of reading. And Joseph V. Pregadio is a name to watch.
J. G. Stinson
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