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More Noodling, Please

Jessica Olin: The Bystander’s Scrapbook by Joseph Torra

4 April 2002
The Bystander's Scrapbook 
by Joseph Torra.
Weidenfeld, 186 pp., £7.99, November 2001, 0 575 06767 5
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... Joseph Torra’s latest novel, The Bystander’s Scrapbook, opens in 1984, the year Ronald Reagan was re-elected President. In Somerville, Massachusetts, as in the rest of the country, corporate growth and gentrification are changing the face of neighbourhoods that once boasted a mix of ethnic traditions: a tenement that housed Hispanic families is overhauled and made into condos for white yuppies; colourful dives, the Italian cobbler’s shop and the Greek breakfast joint are torn down to make room for a new mall ...

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