Gangemi, Joseph 1970-
Gangemi, Joseph 1970-
GANGEMI, Joseph 1970-
(J. G. Passarella, a joint pseudonym)
PERSONAL: Born 1970, in Wilmington, DE; companion of Stacey Himes. Education: Swarthmore, B.S., 1992.
CAREER: Independent screenplay writer and novelist, 1998—. Worked variously as a waiter, grant writer, translator, typist, receptionist, and communications consultant for DuPont and Conoco.
AWARDS, HONORS: Bram Stoker Award for first novel (with John Passarella), c. 1999, for Wither.
(With John Passarella, under joint pseudonym J. G. Passarella) Wither (novel), Pocket Books (New York, NY), 1999.
Inamorata (novel), Viking (New York, NY), 2004.
Contributor of short story to fiction anthology Full Spectrum II, Bantam Doubleday (New York, NY), 1989.
(With Jon Cohen) Crossover, Interscope Films, 1995.
Black Ice, New Line Cinema, 1997.
Eliza Graves, Icon Productions, 2004.
Into the Mirror, Twentieth Century-Fox, 2004.
Also author of screenplay based on Salem's Lot, by Stephen King.
SIDELIGHTS: Joseph Gangemi has become successful both as a screenwriter and novelist. After graduating from Swarthmore College, Gangemi worked at a number of different jobs: translator, receptionist at a detective agency, typist, grant writer, and communications consultant for industry. In 1995, at the suggestion of friend Jon Cohen, he collaborated on the screenplay Thriller. Within two years Gangemi had given up his day job to concentrate on writing.
Since he had been an avid science-fiction reader as a child, it comes as no surprise that Gangemi's first novel was a genre piece, the gothic novel Wither, which he penned with John Passarella under the joint pseudonym J. G. Passarella. Although Don D'Ammassa, writing in Science Fiction Chronicle, complained of the uneven pacing and lack of surprises and a Publishers Weekly contributor called the plot "derivative," other reviewers praised the novel. Among its enthusiasts, Booklist reviewer Roberta Johnson remarked on its "appealing characters," and Library Journal critic Jackie Cassada deemed the book "a good choice for most horror collections." Wither won the Bram Stoker award for first novel.
In the early 2000s, while browsing in a Philadelphia gift shop, Gangemi happened across a book on the history of spiritualism in America. This title sparked the idea for his novel Inamorata, which centers on spiritualism in the 1920s, in particular the offer by the editors of Scientific American of a $5,000 prize to anyone who could find "conclusive psychic manifestations." Gangemi's first-person narrator, Finch, wants to disprove the so-called psychic abilities of Mrs. Crawley, an affluent Philadelphian. Finch finds his efforts thwarted, however, when he falls in love with this would-be medium.
Inamorata elicited qualified praise from reviewers. Although Charles Matthews of the Chicago Tribune found the characters underdeveloped and the plot scattered, and Douglas Wolk called Gangemi's similes "ridiculous," other reviewers were more appreciative. Library Journal critic Wendy Bethel found Finch's capture of false psychics both "fascinating" and "plain funny," and a Kirkus Reviews contributor dubbed Inamorata a "more-than-competent first novel." "While the narrative suffers from occasional lapses into a creaky Edwardian prose style and the odd discursive passage in which the author gives in to the temptation to show off his erudition, such peccadilloes are easily forgiven in this otherwise flawless maiden voyage," concluded Artforum reviewer Thomas D'Adamo. "Readers footing for an entertaining historical probably won't be disappointed," predicted Jeff Zaleski in Publishers Weekly.
By 2004 Gangemi had written a handful of screenplays for a variety of production companies. Regarding the process of becoming a screenplay writer, he told Elizabeth Redden in the Swarthmore College Bulletin Onlin: "I'm convinced it takes ten years. . . . It just takes time to figure out what you have to say and develop your craft so you have the ability to say it." He added, "It doesn't really matter what medium you write in. My novel writing has made me a better screenwriter, and my screenwriting has made me a better novel writer."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Artforum, spring, 2004, Thomas D'Adamo, review of Inamorata, p. 51.
Booklist, February 15, 1999, Roberta Johnson, review of Wither, p. 1048.
Chicago Tribune, February 3, 2004, Charles Matthews, "Spirts Willing, but Novel's Text Weak," p. 2.
Kirkus Reviews, January 1, 1999, review of Wither, p. 13; November 15, 2003, review of Inamorata, p. 1328.
Library Journal, February 15, 1999, Jackie Cassada, review of Wither, p. 188; February 1, 2004, Wendy Bethel, review of Inamorata, p. 122.
Los Angeles Times February 8, 2004, Mark Rozzo, review of Inamorata, p. R10.
New York Times Book Review, February 22, 2004, Douglas Wolk, review of Inamorata, p. 16.
Publishers Weekly, January 4, 1999, review of Wither, p. 74; December 1, 2003, Jeff Zaleski, review of Inamorata, p. 39.
Science Fiction Chronicle, April-May, 1999, Don D'Ammassa, review of Wither, p. 44.
Washington Post, February 29, 2004, Daniel Stashower, "When the Spirit Moves," p. T8.
BookBrowser.com,http://www.bookbrowse.com/ (September 27, 2004), "Joseph Gangemi Interview."
Joseph Gangemi Home Page,http://www.josephgangemi.com (September 27, 2004).
Swarthmore College Bulletin Online,http://www.swarthmore.edu/bulletin/ (September 27, 2004), Elizabeth Redden, "Storyteller."*