Wednesday, 25 April 2012

What we’re reading in the office this week- A Round-up of 4 Italian novels

From Italy holiday reads and travel writing, to historical thrillers set in Nothern Italy and coming-of-age tales set in Southern Italy we’ve been reading a whole range of genres in the Flavours Holidays office this week. Without giving the plot away too much, here’s a peak of our Italy novels that would be great for taking away on holiday or preparing for an Italian holiday this year…

The Name of the Rose by Umberto Eco
Set in an Italian monastery in 1327, Friar William of Baskerville travels to a Benedictine monastery in Northern Italy to investigate hearsay. On arrival, seven monks die under bizarre circumstances and William is tasked with investigating their deaths, exploring a labyrinthine medieval library, collecting evidence and deciphering symbolism as he uses his powers of logic and deduction to unravel the mystery. The first novel by Italian author Umberto Eco, Il nome della rosa was published in Italy in 1980 and was translated into English in 1983. A multi-layered, intelligent and astounding novel, but one that requires a bit of brain power!

I’m not Scared by Niccolo Ammaniti
This gripping bestseller is narrated by one of the characters in the book, Michele, who retells a haunting episode in his childhood. Set in 1978 in a small village in Southern Italy, Michele and a group of friends set off on their bikes into the countryside, while the adults stay inside, escaping the sun. Michele follows up a dare to enter an abandoned farmhouse and stumbles across a horrific and shocking secret that changes his life and outlook forever. For full effect, read whilst on holiday in Italy in the heat of the summer!

An Italian Education by Tim Parks
Writing from his own expat experiences in Italy, Parks writes about the society and culture of real Italy, rather than the rose-tinted view we often gain whilst on holiday. He shares his insights of Italian family life; of nurseries and schools in Italy; the role of ‘mammas’;school holiday time in Italy; his friends; his children’s teachers; and more, comparing his children’s upbringing in Italy to his own in Britain. A superb introduction to life and society in Italy and a recommendation for anyone thinking of going to Italy for more than just a holiday!

Heel to Toe - Encounters in the South of Italy by Charles Lister
An adventure to the extreme south of Italy on two wheels, Charles Lister recounts his bike journey from Puglia to Reggio, taking us with him on a journey of wines, women, history and, above all, society. Humorous, opinionated and passionate, Lister introduces us to the historians, archaeologists and everyday people he meets on his journey through Italy, embellishing his stories with sexual scandals, historical know-how and an insight into Italian society. A great read regardless of whether you’re on holiday; planning a holiday; or dreaming of holidays in the south of Italy!

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