Librarians of Alexandria: A Tale of Two Sisters

ISBN 10: 1586420992 / ISBN 13: 9781586420994
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Synopsis: Drawn from actual events and characters in the author’s family history, The Librarians of Alexandria is a multi-generational saga spanning the years from the Unification of Italy in 1870 to the end of the Second World War. The librarians are the two Sisters Canterno: the beautiful, impassioned Marta and the withdrawn yet loving Margherita. Their intertwining stories are told by Marta’s daughter, Adriana, who alternately narrates as a young girl and as a grown woman, reminiscing with the aged and infirm Margherita. Set in Alexandria, Rome, and Palermo, the novel is at once circular and epic, a love song to culture – to languages and books, art and music – told in sensuous prose that evokes the sounds of rustling parchment manuscripts, parlor games, songs, and the strife of antiaircraft fire, while conjuring the scents of old libraries, dusty alleys, silkworm farms, and mandarin oranges.

About the Author: Alessandra Lavagnino is the author of several novels and short stories. Her novel The Lizards was translated into English by William Weaver and published by Harper & Row in 1972. Una granita di caffe con panna (Mondadori, 1974), another novel, was among the first written about the Mafia through the eyes of a woman. A biologist and professor of parasitology at the University of Palermo until her retirement, she is also the author of more than fifty papers on tropical diseases. She is the mother of two children and grandmother of two, and lives in Palermo with her husband.

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