This is a history of the family of Gay Talese. It starts with the boyhood of the author, and slips backwards to the stories of his father's life as an apprentice tailor in Maida, and even further, as we read about his great grandmother and the troubles she had with her in-laws.
Joseph Talese, Gay's father, befriended his older cousin, who goes to Paris to be a tailor in a famous parisian shop. He eventually opens his own shop, as does Joseph. Joseph is inspired by his cousin's departure to France, and plans his own, to America.
He travels to America, in the berth of a man who dies on the ship. He goes to meet his cousins, who have been working in an asbestos plant. Not surprisingly, their health is seriously compromised, and Joseph finds the work unappealing, and tries to make a living as a tailor. This is much too difficult in this small factory town, since no one wears nice clothing, all they do is work. So he eventually moves to the New Jersey coast, where he establishes a shop, marries, has children and lives out his life.
This report prepared by mimi