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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Truth within truth
Completely absorbing and at times visceral account of two years in Sicily between the ages of 7 and 9 of an English born Sicilian boy who returns to a life in England - but forever changed by his experiences. It's unlike any book I've ever read - a blend of the humdrum, violence, mythology, honor and silence. In Sicily Francesco quickly rises to lead a local 'gang' and...
Published 9 months ago by Mel

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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Read the blurb, that's as good as it gets.
This book describes the poverty, desperation, and disgustingly racist attitudes of the inhabitants of 1960s Sicily. It reminded me, in fact, of why I have always detested Sicilians with every fiber of my being. Not to generalise of course, but having read this book, it appears a Sicilian's ability to concoct an exciting anecdote is comparable to their manners; frankly...
Published 27 days ago by Phil


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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Truth within truth, 29 July 2014
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This review is from: Sicilian Shadows (Paperback)
Completely absorbing and at times visceral account of two years in Sicily between the ages of 7 and 9 of an English born Sicilian boy who returns to a life in England - but forever changed by his experiences. It's unlike any book I've ever read - a blend of the humdrum, violence, mythology, honor and silence. In Sicily Francesco quickly rises to lead a local 'gang' and learns what is necessary to survive. The backdrop is not just the understated ubiquitous mafia presence but one from a distinctly Sicilian perspective. That there is more than one level to this book is part of the attraction - maybe you can work it out and find the truth(s) within truth - or not - I think there are probably advantages in not knowing.

A compelling, enjoyable read that will give you a unique insight on Sicilian life and make you think about who you are.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Compulsory reading if your married to a Sicilian !, 3 Aug. 2014
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This review is from: Sicilian Shadows (Kindle Edition)
I devoured this book in one evening into the early hours , Francesco writes with clarity and gives a true insight into life in a Sicilian village.

My husband along with 8 siblings grew up in the neighbouring town of Acquaviva. In total 8 left to seek work around Europe. I understand now what life must have been like , reading this book gives a rare glimpse into his childhood.

Sicilians are proud and hard working and their hospitality is second to none. The book is sometimes brutal and savage , but so is the landscape , the way of life in those times was tough. I particulary enjoyed the pressure that Francesco felt when his father asks him which path in life would he take at such a young age. I know my husband was sewing button holes on trouser flies at about aged 8 for a uncle , then a spot of manual labour for a brother in law , followed by working at metal work.

The passages that talk of the Festa's and food made my mouth water , I have sampled many !

My three children now truly believe their Papa's story of going off to stone and kill big lizards , apparently he sold them to the local witch woman for medicinal purposes ! he also sold his Mama's eggs to get money for the cinema.

Bravo Francesco I love your book , the Sicilian Shadows cast a huge amount of light for me , please write a Sicilian story soon.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Utterly compelling and honest, 4 Aug. 2014
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This review is from: Sicilian Shadows (Hardcover)
This is an evocative account of a young boy growing up in Sicily, with a clarity that can only come from someone who has lived through the times and experiences described. It treads the delicate balance between telling the truth of the darker side of the island, yet never glamourising violence. At times it makes uncomfortable reading and other times transports you to the beauty of Sicily's complex heritage. A brilliant and brave book.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Sicilian Shadows - An Excellent Read, 17 Aug. 2014
This review is from: Sicilian Shadows (Kindle Edition)
Sicilian Shadows is a unique tale of a Surrey born boy who is uprooted from Walton on Thames at the age if seven and arrives at his family's Sicilian village with his two younger brothers.

The book is a wonderful blend of personal experience, the history, mythology, culture and geography of Sicily and the contrast to life in Walton on Thames. Hard hitting in places, the book does not shy away from the attitudes and behaviours of Sicily and Surrey in that era. The written style is reminiscent of Laurie Lee who mixes history, life experience, geography and incorporates a personal view also. The book achieves a pleasing balance and gives an insight into a lesser known region of Europe.

The book leaves a few questions hanging, perhaps wisely or hopefully for a sequel. I would like to read more from this author.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Overall it is "a good read" - though I can't help wonder whether his ..., 19 Nov. 2014
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This review is from: Sicilian Shadows (Kindle Edition)
Interesting book describing a childhood partly set in Surrey and largely set in a very violent Sicily in the 1960s. It gives insights as to how the mafia became such a force but is mostly about the activities of children - remarkably violent given their young age. It was a very tough life though there is no sense of the author feeling hard done by, and this is largely a cheerful read. At times it is hard to follow the characters since everyone seems to have several versions of their name. Overall it is "a good read" - though I can't help wonder whether his mother would agree .... Yet if she has read it she must still be speaking to him when they meet for their daily latte e caffe
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Highly recommended., 28 July 2014
By 
Janine (London, United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Sicilian Shadows (Paperback)
This is one of the strongest first works Ive ever read. Highly recommended.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars BRILLIANT, 10 Nov. 2014
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This review is from: Sicilian Shadows (Kindle Edition)
FANTASTIC READ! A beautifully written and gripping account of life in Sicily from the truthful eyes of a small boy. Francesco's account gives an insight into the culture of Sicilian life, underpinned by strong family values and the strict moral code that ensured survival. I look forward to his next book......
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A wonderful, compelling read into the life of a young ..., 4 Feb. 2015
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This review is from: Sicilian Shadows (Paperback)
A wonderful, compelling read into the life of a young Sicilian boy bought up in a leafy English suburb suddenly being transported into the heart of the mafia in Sicily. This book manages to evoke a whole range of emotions from utter horror at the plight of this young boy, to amazement and admiration at his ability to adapt and survive. It will open your eyes to the wonders of this amazing country, its people and the way they worked just to survive. The hardship faced by children as young as five years old and the kindness displayed at times by the most unlikely of people. This is a must read and if you are looking for a book that will transport you into another world, delight and surprise you and at times shock you, I highly recommend.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great page turner, 25 Oct. 2014
This review is from: Sicilian Shadows (Paperback)
Great read from start to finish, it took me back to my own carefree youth of outdoor adventures in a time before kids needed constant stimulation from computers and TV and we relied on our own imagination. A great debut from this author and l hope to read many more from him
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars beautifully written memoir, 24 Mar. 2015
By 
Dan H. (Cornwall uk) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Sicilian Shadows (Paperback)
A remarkable, beautifully written memoir. Francesco Scannella skilfully introduces the reader into the heart of 1960's Sicily and delivers a clear insight into the social complexities of the time, and how the Mafia, the Church, and the family influence every aspect of life there. The author's childhood adventures are colourfully told with warmth and humour, from gang fights, to quests for mythical Gods and creatures.
This book has a very rich atmosphere, unflinching and at times violent, but charming throughout. Highly recommended.
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Sicilian Shadows
Sicilian Shadows by Francesco Scannella
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