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IN BRIEF

February 17, 1991|Daniel Cariaga

ENRICO CARUSO My Father and My Family by Enrico Caruso Jr. and Andrew Farkas (Amadeus Press: $39.95; 724 pp.). Heavy in weight and detail, this autobiography by Enrico Caruso Jr. looks like a book about Caruso Sr.: Two caricatures by the famous tenor--one of himself and one of his son, the author--grace the front and back covers; more than 200 rare and fascinating photographs greet the word-weary reader; discographies, chronology, bibliography, copious notes and abundant material on the tenor's family proliferate. Yet this thick volume remains first of all the history of Enrico Jr., who died in 1987 after editing the final manuscript from co-writer Andrew Farkas. It only secondarily probes, gingerly and not very successfully by 1991 standards, the lives of the singer's three wives. Then it chronicles the sad tale of a decade of wrangling over Caruso's estate by his heirs. What a contrast to Geraldine Farrar's remembrance of Caruso Sr., written to his son in 1942, two decades after the singer's early death at age 48: "He passed away in the full bloom of incontestable triumphs, and so we all love to remember him . . . the vocal miracle of his age, knowing no defeat or rival."

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