It’s a story built on very simple facts, very ordinary people, very simple words which aims at transforming history and reality into unheroic epic mythology. That of everyday battles and sufferings. It is a story set in California in the time of WWII but it is actually a story beyond space and time. Homer
the 16-year-old protagonist, Ulysses, his little brother, and Marcus, his elder brother at war. They live in Ithaca, San Joaquin Valley, California. They’ve got a sister and a mother. But there are no heroes. The Macauleys’ struggles and dreams reflect those of America’s second generation immigrants but- and especially- also those of any human being at any time in any place. No , they are not heroic epic figures but real life protagonists of THE HUMAN COMEDY (1943).
Homer is the protagonist, in his teen, determined to become the fastest telegraph messenger in the West, happy to be the man of the family in a difficult moment. Happy to ride his bycicle in the wind. But it’s wartime. Time to grow – up for him. Childhood ends when we realize sufference and death exist and are there inescapably for all of us. Homer becomes aware of that little by little: he is a messenger of death. A mother opens the door, he gives her a telegram and …
“It wasn’t Homer fault. His work was to deliver telegrams. Even so, he felt awkward and almost as if he alone were responsible for what had happened (… )He was on his bycicle suddenly, riding swiftly down the dark street, tears coming out of his eyes, his mouth whispering crazy young curses. When he got back to the telegraph office the tears had stopped, but everything else had started and he knew there would be no stopping them” (pp.26/28)