14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
A great read,
This review is from: Midnight In Sicily (Panther) (Paperback)I'd just read Lampedusa's dazzling 'The Leopard' when I spotted this by chance in a bookshop and got hooked while flicking through.
I really enjoyed it. As other reviewers have noted, 'Midnight in Sicily' combines all sorts of aspects of Sicilian life and history, from the development of the fork to domestic violence. It gives a lot of jaw-dropping, eye-opening information about the mafia, and about how Cosa Nostra's influence had spread to politics and the Vatican before its existence was even acknowledged.
The book deals mainly with the period of time between the 40's and the 80's, and I thought it was a pity that it didn't run up to the present day - although this would probably be impossible.
Robb's heart seems to belong chiefly to Naples, and I found the chapters on Neapolitan life perhaps the most interesting.
I very much liked Robb's writing voice. The author clearly had a wide and detailed knowledge of his subject(s), but he never lectured, and managed the very difficult trick of balancing his own experiences and observances with an objective perspective. He was informed, discursive, conversational, intelligent without being stuck-up. And some of his descriptive writing is amazing.
If I were to make any criticisms, it would be that there was just a bit too much detail for my liking, some of it repetitive; and also that although the book's main subject by a country mile is the mafia, the way the book is marketed does not reflect this.
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Initial post: 9 Oct 2013 20:06:49 BDT
D. A. Kenworthy says:
I agree with this review completely. But if Sicily and Naples are such horrible places, why did this brilliant author spend so much time there? Morbid curiosity? It would take more than good restaurants and interesting food to keep me there for long! I think his immersion in the food and culture is a device to emphasise the difficulty in looking objectively at Italian politics.
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