Books: Paesano with a Trowel

THREE CIRCLES OF LIGHT (246 pp.) —Piefro d! Donato—Julian Messner ($3.95).

As Pietro di Donato sees it, writing and bricklaying have a lot in common: "Your bread is not adulterated, not taken from another. You are creating something that will be here when your vegetable self has departed." In 1939, after Bricklayer di Donato turned to writing and his autobiographical Christ in Concrete became a bestseller, success paradoxically robbed him of both crafts: "I became too sophisticated for bricklaying and too confused to write."

Di Donato was a conscientious objector in World War II, eventually settled with his wife on Long Island in...

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