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Conversations In Sicily Paperback – 20 Mar 2003

7 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 208 pages
  • Publisher: Canongate Books (20 Mar. 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1841953881
  • ISBN-13: 978-1841953885
  • Product Dimensions: 21 x 13.4 x 2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 2,008,325 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

Review

Superbly written ... Vittorini's unique prose laps against one in repetitious wavelets, alive to the rhythm and significance of language in a way more common to poetry than to prose.

Praised in the past by writers like Ernest Hemingway and Italo Calvino, this new translation by Alane Mason restores a paint-fresh vividness to a classic novel, too-little known in the English speaking world.

(Wayne Burrows)

Vittorini is one of the very best . . . I care very much about his ability to bring rain with him when he comes, if the earth is dry and that is what you need. (Ernest Hemingway)

It is very hard to give any adequate sense of [its] power, rendered in lucid, supple lines of almost Homeric simplicity whose cadences are faithfully captured in this excellent new translation (Guardian)

An extraordinary book ... For anyone interested in memory and place, the loss of the past and the attempt to recover it in words, this book will be rewarding ... giving the reader an experience that is vividly new, yet strangely familiar (Kirsty Gunn) --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

Book Description

Vividly capturing the heat, sounds and smells of southern Italy, Conversations in Sicily astounds with its modernity, lyricism and originality --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By JoTownhead on 30 Sept. 2011
Format: Paperback
Silvestro hears from his father that he has left his mother and suggests Silvestro visits her - after an absence of some 15 years. 'Conversations' follow with those he meets on the journey and at his destination. In parts this novel is beautifully descriptive. In others it is numbingly repetitive. Is it allegorical? If so, I'm afraid this was lost on me. Far from being the 'masterpiece' claimed I found it hard going and ultimately unsatisfying.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By moby-dick on 10 Mar. 2011
Format: Paperback
I really liked this short book. It is a mixture of straightforward narrative, dream-like experiences and poetic symbolism.

The narrator is a Sicilian who left home at the age of fifteen and now, at the age of thirty, returns to pay his mother a visit. The evocation of his journey and the description of his experiences at his mother's village enable him not only to understand more about himself and his childhood, but also to express his criticism of fascism and war. I would definitely re-read this book, as I am sure it would reveal more of its meaning on a second reading.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I read this while I was in Sicily and so recognised some of the places and landscapes Vittorini describes and that may have influenced me in its favour. It is hard to categorise because it's not really a travel book as it describes a fictional journey and it is barely a novel as there is not much of a plot. It is really a series of reflections on the Sicily of half a century ago revealed mainly through the protagonist's conversations with the people he meets. To start with these conversations give an insight into the lives of ordinary Sicilians of the period but gradually they become more personal and even metaphysical culminating in a strange nocturnal meeting with a soldier. Now it seems Vittorini is more interested in exploring his own (?) life and relationships with his family.
Since reading the book a few weeks ago parts keep coming back to me, which must be a sign of a good book
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Melancholic - I'm surprised Hemingway liked it so much as I loathe what I have had the misfortune to read of Hemingway and this is universes away from his work. It conveys eerily well the repressive atmosphere of fascist Sicily, the vacuity of relationships, the undercurrent of fear mixed with apathy. All in all a great work.
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