The Mercury Man

SKU: 978-1-61468-615-6
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The Mercury Man is a collection of memoir narratives about growing up on the streets of Brooklyn in an Italian working-class family in the 1950s and early ‘60s. The writer, Frank Gioia, explores his interest in dialogue and voice to impart to the reader the sounds and rich texture of an earlier time and place. This journey into the past has created a work infused with all the pain and joy of his unique experience.

“Frank Gioia is a stylistic writer in league with such greats as Raymond Chandler and Damon Runyon, the success of his work measured not solely by plot and story, but intriguingly by the authentic rhythms of his discourse. Read “Food for Thought” and feel the pain of a boy’s heartbreak over his father’s infidelity. Or, “Fat Boy” and remember the humiliation of rejection. The Mercury Man is a singular work of art.”

— Joan Embree, author of Summer of the Stolen Dog

“With this irresistible collection of stories, Frank Gioia drags you into the past he lived and that hasn’t let him go. His characters glow with incandescence amid scenarios that cut with the sharpness of the blade initiating him into his gang, the Halsey Bops. We follow the tough-talking Catholic kid shooting pool with his guys and abandoned by his heartbreaking dad, The Mercury Man. This was his world. The bitter and the poisonous, but also the sweet. He doesn’t hold back, and we are the richer for it.”

— Padme Lake, author of (as Amy Tanner) The Virgin of Hopeless Causes 

“This collection of three dozen short-shorts is like a meal of tapas. Not always a plot, but always a twist, always a morsel in the mind. They are lovingly made with herbs and meats of Brooklyn in the ‘50s. The language and details—incredible details—resurrect a time and place that many of us think we almost know. Gioia knows it in the belly. The Mercury Man is absolutely Dialect-able!”

— Theodore K. Phelps, author of A Course in Meditation: 
self-paced learning in the art of Natural Meditation


Frank Gioia is a writer, actor, and playwright. His writing has been published in Ovunque Siamo and The Artful Mind. He reads his work regularly at an open mic, IWOW (In Words Out Words), in Housatonic, Massachusetts. A staged reading of his play 14 Holy Martyrs was performed in the Berkshires in 2016.

Customer Reviews

Reviewed by Anonymous, 03/16/2021

In his masterful collection, "The Mercury Man," Frank Gioia takes us along on a very personal journey back to Italian-American Brooklyn in the '50s...the family struggles, the street life, the Church, the food! But Gioia is not satisfied with mere nostalgia. He reveals the pain behind the picnics, the jealousy, the betrayals. The rhythm of the prose is as percussive as a train pulling into a subway station.

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