The First Day of the World

The First Day of the World, Robert Michael Congemi’s tenth book, tells the stories of young men and women at the start of their adultlives and careers, marriages and artistry. It is a world of the past, the late 1950’s, a simpler time where comedy and romance, mysteries and epiphanies abound. Set on Long Island and Albany and south eastern New York, Congemi’s stories tell of first insights of teenagers into the adult world, the further epiphanies of young graduate students and civil servants, and, favorites of Congemi—young, aspiring writers and actors coping with the cost of pursuing their artistic dreams. He also presents stories of the early life of Paul Scriber, the writer and teacher who figures in much of Congemi’s fiction, stories of Scriber’s early marriage, teaching days, and personal resolutions. Finally, Congemi includes in The First Day of The World, Scriber’s first novella, “The Bridge Dwellers,” written when Paul was twenty one about his college days in the late 1950’s. The novella captures a part of this time in American history, the character of early ‘hippies’ and their encounter with the world. Scriber writes of three young men on a philosophical bridge between the conservatism of the 50’s and the cultural explosion of the 1960’s.