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books, films, stories

The novel Suburra, a noir. My review.

2017-10-09 • By

DeMy review of the novel Suburra, a noir set in Rome, by Giancarlo De Cataldo and Carlo Bonini of 2013, the book that inspired the TV series on Netflix.

I read the novel Suburra immediately when it came out. It is a sequel, or better a spin-off of a previous book by De Cataldo, Romanzo Criminale, which I enjoyed a lot. I recommend both the book than the movie featuring a bunch of the most talented Italian actors.

novel suburra

Romanzo Criminale is set between the Seventies and the Eighties and it’s inspired by, not to say based on, the real Roman gang called “banda della Magliana” which was nearly powerful as mafia at that times.

Suburra takes place in Rome nowadays and talks about the dangerous intersections among crime, money and politics.

books, people

Italian books: the almond picker

2016-09-11 • By

Italian books. My review of the “the almond picker” by British-Sicilian novelist Simonetta Agnello Hornby.

After Elena Ferrante and Andrea Camilleri are you still searching in the Italian books shelf? Today I’m reccomending The Almond Picker by Simonetta Agnello Hornby. Actually I wouldn’t put it among the Italian books. Its place is in the Sicilian books shelf, if there was one. “La Mennulara” is not an Italian word, is the Sicilian way to call female workers who picked almonds from ground after men had beaten the trees.

La Mennulara, The Almond Picker, is the nickname of the main character of this book.

The story begins the day of her death, on September 23th 1963 in the village Roccacolomba.(Roccacolomba is fictional, don’t try to book a hotel there).

Italian books

The woman, “Mennù”, started working as almond picker at the age of six to help the poor family. Mennù had come a long way from the almond field. As a teenager she became servant of rich family Alfallipe.  Later she started to manage the family estates on behalf of the lazy Orazio, saving them from bankruptcy. At Orazio’s death, she took care of his wife. She obliged the three selfish and spoiled children to visit the mother by passing them a monthly wage. Yes, because La Mennulara, an illiterate waitress, died surprisingly rich.

books, people

Why you should read Elena Ferrante books

2016-04-30 • By

Five reasons why you should read the whole series of Elena Ferrante books (My Brilliant Friendthe Story of a New Namethose Who Leave and Those Who Staythe Story of the Lost Child) and why you will enjoy it.

Elena Ferrante books

My brilliant friend, “L’amica geniale” in the Italian version

Elena Ferrante books are probably the most explosive Italian literature phenomenon of the last years.

The four books of the so called Neapolitan novels fascinated people worldwide. Here’s five reasons why you should read it (if you have not done it yet).

I guess it’s unnecessary to spend too many words about the plot of these four books, which actually form one story of nearly 1.700 pages (or an infinite soap-opera, from detractors’ point of view). I will only say it’s about two main female characters, Elena and Lila, born postwar in a poor neighbourhood of Naples. The books are about their life from childhood to elderly years and about their precarious friendship.

I will also say that I agree with the most widespread readers’ opinion I’ve seen on the web : “My brilliant friend” is incredible. Not that the sequels are disappointing, but they are not as strong as the first one.

So why should you read the whole saga? In my opinion to read the four books you must want to read them. I did it and I’m not disappointed.

Here’s five reasons why you should dive without hesitation into Elena and Lila’s lives.

books, Places

Looking for unusual things to do in Venice? Here’s three books to help you

2016-04-02 • By

Two unconventional guides and a novel to find hidden things to do in Venice.

Things to do in Venice

Riva degli Schiavoni

You’re trying to find the essential things to do in Venice and you bought a city guide. So you will easily discover the origins of this amazing place, its raise as a world commercial superpower, its important churches and museums. You plan your tour: a visit to St. Mark’s cathedral, a walk across Rialto bridge, maybe a ride in gondola on the Grand Canal.  

Than you arrive there and you find yourself running around with other thousand tourists, all queuing in front of the same places. But there’s no escape: if you are a tourist in Venice, no matter where you come from, you are meant to go through this.

But you know Venice is magic. Writers and poets spent thousand of words about this unique city and this charm must be somewhere. Only, you can’t find it, overwhelmed by the crowd.

The only thing you can do is: change plans.

If you have enough time in Venice, there’s much more to discover.

You can even skip the things you “have” to do in Venice and you will anyway find great places. I’m not recommending another Venice travel guide, maybe called “the unconventional Venice”. To help you to find your unconventional path in Venice, have a look to these books.

books, language, people

An unexpected reason to learn Italian

2016-01-06 • By

Are you looking for another reason to learn Italian? Check the experience of these two famous writers.

There’s more than a reason to learn Italian. You might want to read Italian literature, to watch Italian movies, to read recepies or to understand lyrics in operas. It’s also the most similar to Latin than any other romance language as French, Spanish and Portuguese. Moreover about 60 % of English words derive from Latin. Do you need another reason?

Reason to learn Italian

Learn Italian – cover of Italian version of the Lowland

I have recently read two books by two brilliant female writers: Ghana must go by Taiye Selasi and The Lowland by Jumpa Lahiri.

There are many similarities between these two amazing women. They both grew up on the border between of two cultures. They both write about how to manage this difficult balance.

And they have another thing in common: they both speak Italian.

What’s their reason to learn Italian?