Duologue: On Culture and Identity


119 pages
ISBN 1-55071-072-9
DDC C810.9'921693





Reviewed by Carol A. Stos

Carol A. Stos is an assistant professor of Spanish at Laurentian


At the very end of Duologue, writer Pasquale Verdicchio says to his
friend, writer-publisher Antonio D’Alfonso, “It is about us.” And
that is just what this transcribed conversation between the two is
about: their past and present identities as hyphenated Italians; their
struggle with writing, publishing, and ethnicity; their knowledge of
culture and all that it crosses, transfers, multiplies, and fragments;
their ideas about nationalisms (Canadian, American, Italian,
Québécois); and their experiences with literature, language,
criticism, and other writers. In some ways, Duologue is entirely too
much about D’Alfonso and Verdicchio, too much of an exploration of
their particular and shared memories of people, places, and events that
are not sufficiently explained or identified to anyone unfamiliar with
the Italian-Canadian writing and publishing scene.

At the same time, the book is testimony to the amazing literary
activity and energy that persevere despite mainstream agendas and
official notions of multiculturalism and ethnicity in different
countries. It offers an unexpected appreciation of aspects of the
Québécois literary scene, along with explorations of culture,
linguistic legacies, and identity in application to more than one
people. It describes the difficulties of being a writer and a publisher,
the challenges of writing and publishing in the absence of readers and
critics, and the frustration of belonging to more than one place, but
not really to any.

Duologue has more to offer than two friends indulging in personal
reminiscences over a bottle of Washington Merlot in the Roma Beach
Café; it provides interesting insights on the issue of culture and
identity, and would stimulate some provocative discussions in any
culture course.


D'Alfonso, Antonio, and Pasquale Verdicchio., “Duologue: On Culture and Identity,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed April 17, 2024, https://cbra.library.utoronto.ca/items/show/3073.