A loving take on an extraordinary island, based on Norman Lewis's sixty-year fascination with all things Sicilian. Dedicated to a Sicilian journalist killed by a Mafia bomb, Lewis rarely lets us forget the presence of organized crime. We benefit from his friendships with policemen, journalists, and common people. Moreover, he writes beautifully of landscape and language, of his memories of his first father-in-law (professional gambler, descendant of princes and member of the Unione Siciliana), of Sicily's changing sexual mores, of the effects of African immigration, of Palermo and its ruined palaces - and of strange superstitions, witches, bandits, and murder.
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Norman Lewis is the author of thirteen novels and thirteen works of non-fiction, including Voices of the Old Sea, Golden Earth, and A Goddess in the Stones. He lives in Essex, England.
Sicily, a place of recurring interest to prolific British author Lewis (Voices of the Sea; Naples 44), is the setting of this mixture of straightforward travel narrative and social commentary. As Lewis visits different towns on the island, he compares modern-day Sicily with his World War II memories, noting the changes that have taken place over the last few decades. Along the way, he not only encourages readers to visit and experience Sicily but also creates vacation destinations out of many small towns on the island through his colorful anecdotes. He devotes a great deal of space to the Mafia and its influence on Sicily's daily life and includes chilling stories of a 1947 massacre. There are also reflections on the effects of recent African immigration and the island's changing sexual mores. The author eventually concludes that despite the addition of numerous hotels and caf‚s and the cleaning and modernization of urban areas, Sicilian culture and traditions have changed little since his first visit. Recommended for academic or public libraries collecting books on Italy. Sheila Kasperek, Mansfield Univ., PA
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