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Pasquale's Nose by [Rips, Michael]
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Pasquale's Nose Kindle Edition

4.3 out of 5 stars 3 customer reviews

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Length: 230 pages Word Wise: Enabled Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
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Product Description

Amazon Review

There are two kinds of travel narrators: those who travel to write and those who land in a place and pick up a pen. In Pasquale's Nose, Michael Rips is the latter, having landed in the Etruscan village of Sutri near Rome, the accident of an artist wife with a mission though Rips seems to have none.

Rips, a lawyer from the Midwest of America, appears to look for nothing more than what he can see through the steam rising from his coffee cup when seated at an outdoor café table. The result is an uneven series of occasionally stunning vignettes of the curious people who pass by his field of vision. It is an unlikely writing style for an American in Italy, more reminiscent of a distanced Victorian observer of another culture than an exuberant Frances Mayes in Under the Tuscan Sun or the freshness of Annie Hawes in Extra Virgin.

Rips' own personality, in all its neuroses, is the backbone to the daily doodles that introduce the reader to the village. The elegant café owner Dina Guidi, the inbred Mezzadonna family, the blind boot-maker and the titled Pasquale with a penchant for cars and for smelling feet are created with varying detail.

The style veers toward a movie script outline where characters have great potential and all will be revealed before the camera. This first-time author, who would be a study in eccentricity in his own right, is on the right path when he blends observation with his version of a morality tale. --Kathleen Buckley

Book Description

A sharply flavoured, eccentric and entertaining travel memoir which does for the southern Italian town of Sutri what Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil did for Savannah (without the murder) - makes you want to go straight there, or better still stay at home and read about it!

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 1371 KB
  • Print Length: 230 pages
  • Publisher: Vintage Digital (31 July 2014)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00LX6U88E
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars 3 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #1,115,093 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
I've enjoyed Peter Mayle and Frances Mayes, but I've wondered about this "do-it-yourself" expatriotism they describe. Then along comes Michael Rips, whose quirky view of life in a small Italian town gives human scale to the missteps of an oddball in an odd land. Rips is rather the Anti-Mayle and Un-Mayes - he neither lives to eat nor lives to redecorate. Once he has a roof overhead and a plate of hearty "cucina rusticana" in front of him, he gives his full attention to the most revealing part of a culture: its people.
The residents of Sutri are like characters in fables, both ancient and modern, in Rips' very funny treatment. In quick time he discovers personalities and stories that ring true even while stretching our limits of belief. "Pasquale's Nose" seems to lie at the junction between Margaret Mead, Phillip Roth and Roberto Benigni. It's a fun and enlightening prelude to (or substitute for) your next trip to Italy.
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Format: Paperback
This book is a quick read, only 200 pages but full of amusing anecdotes and Italian eccentrics, an interesting mix of historical fact and myth, as well as the author's reflections on life in a small hilltop town called Sutri.
Sutri is in the Tuscia, where I live, so the book was of particular interest. This region extends from Rome up to the borders of Tuscany in the north, Umbria to the east and the coast to the west. The largest city in the region is Viterbo and Sutri an attractive hill town in the countryside, is an equal distance between there and Rome. The inhabitants of the Tuscia are in general unassuming people and tend to be suspicious of `stranieri' foreigners, which is probably one of the reasons that the region is still relatively undiscovered, a treasure trove of Etruscan antiquities and nature at its most beautiful.
The book is written as a series of literary sketches some of which I found amusing, others rather weird and the ones where the author tried to compare to familiar situations in the USA where he came from frankly rather boring.
One description too many for me was the recipe for horsemeat and learning that the best horse meat in Italy comes from around Sutri. Information I could have done without, even when the author goes on to say that the Sutrini's also worship horses holding a festa in their honour!

I am glad that I read it and the next time that I visit Sutri I will certainly be looking around me to see if I can recognise any of the great cast of characters, including Gino, Dina, Vittore, Fiorina, Luciano, Romolo, and of course Pasquale who gives the book its title. I do think though that life even in Sutri may have moved on a little since 2001!
I would not recommend it unless like me you happen to be particularly interested in Italy.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
100 of what is written is true. I live in Sutri and I know about it. The people described in the book are those I meet everyday. I like the way it has been written. Anyone can read it in a few hours.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: HASH(0x98ec9ed0) out of 5 stars 15 reviews
24 of 25 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x99cc5f48) out of 5 stars Thank god this is NOT Bella Tuscany! 1 May 2002
By Gary McIntyre - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
I picked this book up praying that it would not be about the exploits of some annoying North American couple who buy an old, decaying villa, purportedly of historic renown, and then hurriedly write a book to pay for their folly. I didn't want Bella Tuscany, I wanted Ugly Tuscany. Something with an edge, rough. Broken terra cotta. Dusty. Weathered. Parched. Pasquale's Nose is all that and more.
In this case we get Ugly Tuscia, which rests near between Umbria and Tuscany. Michael Rips is not working and on his wife's suggestion they up and leave the United States for the lovely Italian hilltown of Sutria.
He gives us just enough information about himself and why he's in Italy to keep you interested. His wife has coaxed him to go the Etruscan village of Sutria so that she can paint. They have brought their infant daughter with them.
If you've been to any tiny little hill in the Tuscan area then this book will fill on the pieces you may have wanted to remember when you returned home but forgot.
Rips recounts some of the history the town, which is wry and funny like most things in Italy. The local characters that he describes throughout the book are what I remember vividly-coarse, refined, and yet slightly tart. You'll find out who Pasquale really is, who the outcasts of the town are, and more dirt than Bella Tuscany was willing to reveal.
Think of this book as `Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil' in Italy.
19 of 21 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x98f5b3a8) out of 5 stars Immense Charm 21 May 2002
By Amazon Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
I enjoyed this book immensely. Michael Rips moves with his wife and daughter to Sutri, a town in Tuscany close to Rome, and discovers one of the oddest cast of characters imaginable. I suspect that Rips has a penchant for the odd and grotesque; still, I don't think he was inventing the aristocrat with a cat's paw for a hand, the old men with fond memories of POW camps in America, the restauranteur who refuses to serve dessert, or any of the other strange figures who populate this memoir of life in an Italian town. ...[The] book is a deeply welcome change from the ecstatic, sun-soaked memoirs typical of the genre. It also has a much more refined sense of history and sociology; Rips makes valient efforts to understand the unconventional mentality of the inhabitants of Sutri, all of whom attribute their marked clannishness to an Etruscan heritage (incorrectly, as it turns out.) This book was at once more realistic, and more fantastic than the average travelogue, almost like a fairy tale in the whimsicality of the stories it spun. My only quibble with the book is that Rips, a first-time author, didn't tell us enough about himself or what he was doing in Italy for me to really care about him or his family. The book has no sense of narrative; it's more a collection of sketches of his neighbors. I actually didn't realize Rips was an attorney until I read about it on Amazon; he portrays himself as a good-for-nothing layabout with no skills. A more honest account of himself, his family, and what they were doing in Sutri would have helped me better situate myself while reading this utterly engaging travel memoir. Still, this is one of the best examples of the genre I've read in a long time.
9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x996dd258) out of 5 stars Good to the last drop of espresso ... 14 Dec. 2002
By tom - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
As one of the many who has fallen in lust with Italy over a too-short visit, I found this a fun read.
The author displays a whacked-out sense of humor as he deconstructs the citizenry of a small town (large village?) north of Rome. There seems to be an unusually large number of eccentrics inside those ancient walls, and one more - in the person of Rips - just adds to the brew. He seems out of his element in the beginning, but eventually you start to think he's landed exactly where he belongs, in a sort of beign asylum where the inmates are the admissions committee.
The dry commentary reminded me of the great Ludwig Bemelmens, one of the 20th century's premier travel essayists, though sadly largely forgotten today. Maybe you've read D.H.Lawrence's accounts of travel in Italia - infuse an offbeat sense of humor and a semi-fictional tone and you'll come away with a copy of Pasquale's Nose. If you don't get to go to Italy yourself this year - or, better yet, if you do - this may be the perfect vacation read.
7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x99d82318) out of 5 stars I Can't Believe It's Not Fiction 5 July 2002
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
Rips is an entertaining writer but few words in this book ring true. A town of 5,000 people in Italy where all the old folks (and others) speak English and a foreigner who speaks no Italian gets the whole scoop and makes great friends in a few months?
Truly unbelievable. The book started sounding made up with one of the first stories, about the beans--beans noted throughout Italy, by the way, as the only ones never to cause indigestion. By the end, it was total super realism. That said, Rips is an entertaining writer who should stick to fiction that's billed as such.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9a1c45f4) out of 5 stars The place is for real... 16 Sept. 2004
By Tuscanwino - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Having read and greatly enjoyed this story, I later found myself at Sutri enroute from Rome to Tuscany. My wife and I stopped to stretch our legs and see the town. It is as described, and so are the people. When Michael's name and/or book were mentioned, most people rolled their eyes (lovingly). This book made a visit to Sutri infinitely more enjoyable, and made it a special place among places on the Via Cassia (SS2).
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