Archive for the ‘italy’ Category


These memories of her home island of Sardinia run like a litany through the mind of a love-sick woman on a visit to Milan in 1963. She is considering remaining on the mainland for ever, but the contrast between that sea of light and the fog-bound Northern city tells at least the reader why she cannot. It is actually one of relatively few physical descriptions of the island in this charming little novella by Milena Agus, which reads almost like a family memoir. But the book is filled with the spirit of Sardinian life, which seems to have preserved the old ways well beyond the end of the war, a combination of circumspection and joy.

March 14, 2011 · Judi Clark · No Comments
Tags:  · Posted in: Family Matters, italy, Translated, World Lit


Cremona, Italy. On the eve of an important performance, local luthier Gianni Castiglione is called on to examine Il Cannone, the violin once played by Niccolò Paganini, which would be played that night by competition winner Yevgeny Ivanov. A minor adjustment is made and at the recital both violin and musician perform flawlessly. The next day, however, a concert attendee, a French art dealer, is found dead in his Cremona hotel. Two items are noted among his possessions: a locked golden box and a torn corner of a music score from the night’s previous performance. Gianni’s police detective friend, Antonio Guastafeste, enlists his help and the two soon find themselves on an international chase, on the trail of not just a murderer but of a priceless historical treasure, one worth killing for.

January 5, 2011 · Judi Clark · No Comments
Tags: , ,  · Posted in: 2011 Favorites, France, italy, Mystery/Suspense, Sleuths Series, United Kingdom

BANDIT LOVE by Massimo Carlotto

If you’re a fan of Italian crime fiction, then reading Massimo Carlotto is a necessity. This author dubbed the “king of Mediterranean Noir” creates bleak worlds in which his Nietzschean anti-heroes struggle to survive.

BANDIT LOVE has the feel of a buddy novel, but the relationship of those buddies is entrenched in past lives of crime. The buddies in the novel are ex-con turned unlicensed PI Marco Burrati (aka the Alligator), gangster Beniamino Rossini, and Max la Memoria (Max the Memory). Burrati and Max, now trying to go straight, are co-owners of a bar named La Cuccia, and here Max the Memory (also known as the Fat Man) endlessly cooks his favourite recipes.

September 29, 2010 · Judi Clark · No Comments
Tags: , , ,  · Posted in: italy, Mystery/Suspense, Noir, Sleuths Series, Thriller/Spy/Caper

THE PAST IS A FOREIGN COUNTRY by Gianrico Carofiglio

THE PAST IS A FOREIGN COUNTRY from former anti-Mafia prosecutor, Gianrico Carofiglio is primarily a psychological tale. While the novel contains a crime story, the main focus, and perhaps even arguably the main crime, is the complete and utter corruption of one human being by another.

August 14, 2010 · Judi Clark · No Comments
Tags: , , ,  · Posted in: italy, Psychological Suspense


The poverty of Southern Italy and the negative results of globalization are at the roots of the novella The Homecoming Party from Italian author Carmine Abate. Told through the eyes of Marco Tullio, the story covers certain pivotal moments in the lives of Marco’s family.

The book begins in Southern Italy at a Christmas bonfire while Marco sits with his father on the steps of a church. These are good times for 12-year-old Marco as he basks in the all-too rare company of his father, but as the evening wears on, Marco’s father tells stories about working in France, and Marco’s mind wanders off to thoughts of his sister Elisa who attends the University of Cosenza and returns home for the weekends.

July 27, 2010 · Judi Clark · No Comments
Tags: ,  · Posted in: Family Matters, italy, Translated, World Lit

SACRED HEARTS by Sarah Dunant

In 16th-century Italy, a noblewoman of marriageable age had two choices: marriage and children, or reclusion to a convent. With the price of wedding dowries rising ever higher, most noble families could only afford to marry off one daughter. The rest, for a much-reduced dowry, went to the convent. But “not all went willingly,” author Sarah Dunant states in her preface, a deliciously ominous portent of the story to come.

July 23, 2010 · Judi Clark · No Comments
Tags: , ,  · Posted in: 2010 Favorites, Facing History, italy