The Mussolini Canal
Author: Antonio Pennacchi
The Mussolini Canal is one of the great achievements of contemporary Italian fiction. It spans 100 years of Italian history as seen through the lives of the Peruzzi family, who are among the 30,000 peasants from Northern Italy sent down to farm the newly-drained Pontine Marshes outside Rome in the 1930s. Mussolini is revered by the Peruzzi family, who must reconcile their admiration for Il Duce with the failings of Fascism which slowly envelop them. Contemporary events permeate the book and the hardship and misery of earlier periods are seen against the background of modern prosperity. It won the Strega prize in 2010 in Italy and has sold over 400,000 copies in Italy
Author: Antonio Pennacchi
Publisher: Edizioni Mondadori
Canale Mussolini è l'asse portante su cui si regge la bonifica delle Paludi Pontine. I suoi argini sono scanditi da eucalypti immensi che assorbono l'acqua e prosciugano i campi, alle sue cascatelle i ragazzini fanno il bagno e aironi bianchissimi trovano rifugio.
A Winter's Night
Author: Valerio Manfredi
Publisher: Europa Editions Incorporated
The Brunis, a farming family from the Italian Paduan plain, offer refuge to a host of people during the course of the two World Wars, the difficult times before and after the conflicts, and the rise of fascism.
Swimming to Elba
Author: Silvia Avallone
A sensually charged novel about two girls growing up fast in a failing industrial town on the coast of Italy Anna and Francesca are on the brink of everything: high school, adulthood, and the edge of ambition in their provincial town. It’s summer in Piombino, Italy, and in their skimpy bathing suits, flaunting their newly acquired curves, the girls suddenly have everyone in their thrall. This power opens their imagination to a destiny beyond Piombino; the resort town of Elba is just a ferry ride away and yet they’ve never dared to go. Maybe the future is waiting for them there, or somewhere beyond. When their friendship suffers a blow, the girls set off on their own only to discover that their budding sexuality takes them further than they expect, though not as far as their dreams. As their choices take them to a painful crossroads, the girls must reconnect if they have any hope of escaping their small town destinies. In this poetic, prizewinning debut, Silvia Avallone captures the lost innocence of a generation. Harrowing yet ultimately redemptive, Swimming to Elba is a story about the power of friendship, and the way that family, friendship, and economics shape our world.
Author: conte Galeazzo Ciano, Robert Lawrence Miller, Stanislao G. Pugliese, V. Umberto Coletti-Perucca, Hugh Gibson
The Ciano Diaries are one of the most important documents recording the events taking place in Europe leading up to the Second World War and how they effected the rest of the world. Galezzo Ciano was in the forefront of those momentous events, not only because he happened to be Mussolini's son in law, but most important because at the age of 35 he was also Italy's Minister of Foreign Affairs and one of the major proponents of the Axis Alliance with Nazi Germany.
This novel hinges on the battle of Monte Cassino, Italy, in World War II, covering the international contingents and their contribution to that victory. The four month long battle at Monte Cassino in southern Italy was one of the bloodiest in World War II. In this highly original novel, Janeczek retells that 1944 battle from the point of view of the Maori, Gurkha, Polish, North African, small-town American and other Allied foot soldiers who fought and died under German fire near that 6th century Benedictine abbey. Twined through the battle is another story, a memory of the drowned and the saved in Janeczek's own family in wartime Eastern Europe, where Jews who did not go to Nazi death camps went to Soviet gulag camps, and sometimes survived, and even went on to fight at Monte Cassino. A powerful reflection on all the ways that rights can be taken from us. "Helena Janeczek's novel is this: a tattoo etched on the skin, and not painlessly. A vast design that brings together threads from all the various lives that converged in that legendary battle. The beauty of her tale lies in its structure, the way opposites converge: the chaos of battle and the silence of the defeated, ordinariness and the heroism of the powerless, carefully guarded memory and impetuous youth, the past perpetually intertwined with the present." Roberto Saviano, author of Gomorrah
Author: Tiziano Scarpa
Publisher: Profile Books
The female musicians of the Instituto della Piet play from a gallery in the church, their faces half hidden by metal grilles. They live segregated from the world. Cecilia, is a violinist who, during anguished, sleepless nights, writes letters to the mother she never knew, haunted by her and hating her by turns. She eats little and cannot sleep. But things begin to change when a new violin teacher arrives at the institute. The astonishing music of Vivaldi, the 'Red Priest', electrifies her and changes her attitude to life, compelling her to make a courageous choice.
Author: Melania G. Mazzucco
Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux
In April 1903, the steamship Republic spills more than two thousand immigrants onto Ellis Island. Among them are Diamante, age twelve, and Vita, nine, sent by their poor families in southern Italy to make their way in America. Amid the chaos and splendor of New York, the misery and criminality of Little Italy, and the shady tenants of Vita's father's decrepit Prince Street boarding house, Diamante and Vita struggle to survive, to create a new life, and to become American. From journeys west in search of work to journeys back to Italy in search of their roots, to Vita's son's encounter with his mother's home town while serving as an army captain in World War II, Vita touches on every aspect of the heartbreaking and inspiring immigrant story. The award-winning Italian author Melania G. Mazzucco weaves her own family history into a great American novel of the immigrant experience. A sweeping tale of discovery, love, and loss, Vita is a passionate blend of biography and autobiography, of fantasy and fiction.
We easily assume that the political systems of New Deal America and Fascist Italy were poles apart, but this fascinating exploration of the "new towns" of the 1930s argues persuasively to the contrary. Diane Ghirardo reveals that the planned communities of the New Deal, from Greenbelt towns to migrant worker camps, had close parallels in Italy and that new town policies in the United States and Italy were startlingly similar. In each country the central government tried to help solve massive unemployment problems in part by adopting essentially conservative designs to move impoverished citizens back to the land. The settlers were to flee the terrors of the Depression in an image borrowed from the past: the traditional nuclear family diligently at work on its own plot of ground, uninvolved in strikes or demonstrations. Recognizing that architectural and planning history are inseparable from the study of politics and social movements, Ghirardo uses the new town ideal as a window to view American and Italian social and economic policies. As she examines specific towns and settlements in each country, she shows that they were meant to remove their inhabitants not only from the "wickedness" of the city but also from contagious notions about revolution and radical social change.
Alex D., consumed by a restless unanswered longing, ditches school to drink and trade stories with his posse of delinquents until he meets Aidi who, unfortunately, is leaving for a year in America at the end of the summer
Author: Sveva C Modignani
Publisher: Open Road Media
Gregorio Caccialupi is taking stock of his long, intense life. His earliest memories date back to the 1930s in Polesine, a backwater town on the Po delta. His childhood there was riddled with abject poverty, illness, and toil. When tuberculosis strikes his beautiful mother, who has removed herself from the harsh reality of the world around her, his destiny takes a sudden turn. He is an adolescent when he leaves Polesine and sets off for America in search of fortune. Years later, as a man of endless resources and the object of much admiration, he racks up successes, losses, and women who try, and fail, to win his heart: Florencia, his first love; Nostalgia, his wife; and Erminia, his current flame. Over the years, he comes to be known as Mister Gregory, the rich magnate behind a large Italian hotel chain, a person of influence, and a man to be feared. Then, a bad investment causes him to lose everything. His path seems ill fated until a chance meeting and a surprise revelation lead Mister Gregory, now an old man, to take back the reins of his life and embark on a new adventure.
Author: Niccolò Ammaniti
Publisher: Canongate Books
FINANCIAL TIMES BEST BOOKS OF 2017 It is four years since the virus came, killing every adult in its path. Not long after that the electricity failed. Food and water started running out. Fires raged uncontrolled across the country. Now Anna cares for her brother alone in a house hidden in the woods, keeping him safe from 'the Outside', scavenging for food amid the packs of wild dogs that roam their ruined, blackened world. Before their mother died, she told them to love each other and never part. She told them that, when they reach adulthood, the sickness will claim them too. But she also told them that someone, somewhere, will have a cure. When the time comes, Anna knows, they must leave their world and find another. By turns luminous and tender, gripping and horrifying, Anna is a haunting parable of love and loneliness; of the stories we tell to sustain us, and the lengths we will go to in order to stay alive.
The Boundaries of Europe
Author: Pietro Rossi
Publisher: Walter de Gruyter GmbH & Co KG
Europe’s boundaries have mainly been shaped by cultural, religious, and political conceptions rather than by geography. In this context, this volume outlines the transformation of Europe’s boundaries from the fall of the ancient world to the age of decolonization and explores, among other aspects, the confrontation of Christian Europe with Islam and the changing role of the Mediterranean from “mare nostrum” to a frontier between nations.
The Sergeant in the Snow
Author: Mario Rigoni Stern
Publisher: Northwestern University Press
First published in Italy in 1953, this autobiography details the author's harrowing experiences as a soldier on the Russian front during World War II.