'The best books, reviewed with insight and charm, but without compromise.'
- author Jackie French

Tuesday 13 October 2020

Review: Tribal Lores

In his new novel Tribal Lores, Archimede Fusillo delivers with conviction, the common angst experienced by young people straddling two cultures.

Torn between what their heritage demands and their expectations as Australian-born citizens, we observe the liberation, growth and independence of his characters, as they learn to embrace both worlds without rejecting one for the other.

Frankie Rescio is from a successful, traditional Italian family that sticks together no matter what.

They accept that every family has its secrets and that some secrets are necessary.

Respect is a big word for his parents. So is saving face. Frankie struggles with the many contradictions he encounters within his tribe and in the world outside.

His life is a total contrast to that of Lochie, his next door neighbour, whose family are split, scattered and struggling. Although mates and at the same school, that’s where the similarity ends.
Lochie has no inkling of what tribal lore that governs and binds migrant families means. Forceful, fearless and daring, he insinuates himself into situations. He projects a careless invasive manner that induces others to comply with his thoughts and actions. These characteristics hide family secrets. His blind loyalty towards mates will later transform into something he has no control over.

Frankie is impulsive. His decisions place him in difficult situations. One being the offer of his dad’s flat above their butcher shop, to Lochie’s attractive, pregnant, half-sister and her hippie layabout boyfriend Ray. This will expose his vulnerability and increase the struggle he battles with.

An opportunity for the families to get to know each other better arises when Lochie’s family invites Frankie’s over for an Australia Day barbeque.

After the barbeque, there is a shift in their relationship. Frankie and Lochie edge closer to each other, feeling their way into a friendship built on trust and sharing of personal secrets. They come to realise that every tribe has a level of chaos that runs through their lives. Therefore, they are more alike than they thought.

But Lochie is caught in a web of rebellious behaviour with his three other mates, and seeking to prove himself, spirals into an irreversible position that ends in tragic circumstances.

Fusillo, through dialogue and settings, displays the many differences in the lives of the two main families; their challenges and survival strategies. He shows how, despite being totally different, kindness, community and compassion are actions understood regardless of origins.

Title: Tribal Lores 
Archimede Fusillo 
Publisher: Walker Books, $19.99
Publication Date: September 2020  
Format: Paperback  
ISBN: 9781760651954  
For ages: 12+  
Type: Young Adult Fiction