Set in Italy
The House of Medici picks up where Barbara Tuchman's Hibbert delves into the lives of the Medici family, whose legacy of increasing self-indulgence and sexual dalliance eventually led to its self-destruction. With twenty-four pages of black-and-white illustrations, this timeless saga is one of Quill's strongest-selling paperbacks.
A New York Public Library Best Book of the Year
From the author of M and A Death in Brazil comes Midnight in Sicily.
South of mainland Italy lies the island of Sicily, home to an ancient culture that--with its stark landscapes, glorious coastlines, and extraordinary treasure troves of art and archeology--has seduced travelers for centuries. But at the heart of the island's rare beauty is a network of violence and corruption that reaches into every corner of Sicilian life: Cosa Nostra, the Mafia. Peter Robb lived in southern Italy for over fourteen years and recounts its sensuous pleasures, its literature, politics, art, and crimes.
“Vivid, lucid, elegant, often funny,” Naples ’44 is the starkly human account of the true cost of war as seen through the eyes of a young, untested man who would never again look at his world the same way (The New York Times Book Review).
With his gift for linguistics, Norman Lewis was assigned to the British Intelligence Corps’ Field Security Service, tasked with reforming civil services, dealing with local leaders, and keeping the peace in places World War II had devastated.
After a near-disastrous Allied landing at Salerno, Italy, Lewis was stationed in the newly liberated city of Naples. But bringing the city back to life was unlike anything he had been prepared for. Much of the populace was far from grateful, stealing anything they could, not only from each other but also from those sent to help them. Local vendettas and endless feuds made discerning friend from Nazi collaborator practically impossible, and turned attempts at meting out justice into a farce. And as the deprivations grew ever harsher, a proud and vibrant people were forced to survive on a diet of prostitution, corruption, and a desperate belief in miracles, cures, and saviors.
But even through the darkness and chaos, Lewis evokes the essential dignity of the Neapolitan people, their traditions of civility, courage, and generosity of spirit, and the indefatigable pride that kept them fighting for life during the greatest calamity in human history.
Praised by Graham Greene as “one of the best writers . . . of our century,” Norman Lewis presents a portrait of Naples that is a “lyrical, ironic and detached account of the tempestuous, byzantine and opaque city in the aftermath of war” (Will Self). His Naples ’44 “reads like prose . . . sings like poetry” (The Plain Dealer).
Jones writes not just about Italy's art, climate, and cuisine but also about the much livelier and stranger sides of the Bel Paese: the language, soccer, Catholicism, cinema, television, and terrorism. Why, he wonders, does the parliament need a "slaughter commission"? Why do bombs still explode every time politics start getting serious? Why does everyone urge him to go home as soon as possible, saying that Italy is a "brothel"? Most of all, why does one man, Silvio Berlusconi--in the words of a famous song--appear to own everything from Padre Nostro (Our Father) to Cosa Nostra (the Mafia)?
The Italy that emerges from Jones's travels is a country scarred by civil wars and "illustrious corpses"; a country that is proudly visual rather than verbal, based on aesthetics rather than ethics; a country where crime is hardly ever followed by punishment; a place of incredible illusionism, where it is impossible to distinguish fantasy from reality and fact from fiction.
W. R. Johnson's Introduction makes an ideal companion to the translation, offering brilliant insight into the legend of Aeneas; the contrasting roles of the gods, fate, and fortune in Homeric versus Virgilian epic; the character of Aeneas as both wanderer and warrior; Aeneas' relationship to both his enemy Turnus and his lover Dido; the theme of doomed youths in the epic; and Virgil's relationship to the brutal history of Rome that he memorializes in his poem.
A map, a Glossary of Names, a Translator's Preface, and Suggestions for Further Reading are also included.
You won’t need luggage for this hypothetical and hilarious trip into the hearts and minds of Beppe Severgnini’s fellow Italians. In fact, Beppe would prefer if you left behind the baggage his crafty and elegant countrymen have smuggled into your subconscious. To get to his Italia, you’ll need to forget about your idealized notions of Italy. Although La Bella Figura will take you to legendary cities and scenic regions, your real destinations are the places where Italians are at their best, worst, and most authentic:
The highway: in America, a red light has only one possible interpretation—Stop! An Italian red light doesn’t warn or order you as much as provide an invitation for reflection.
The airport: where Italians prove that one of their virtues (an appreciation for beauty) is really a vice. Who cares if the beautiful girls hawking cell phones in airport kiosks stick you with an outdated model? That’s the price of gazing upon perfection.
The small town: which demonstrates the Italian genius for pleasant living: “a congenial barber . . . a well-stocked newsstand . . . professionally made coffee and a proper pizza; bell towers we can recognize in the distance, and people with a kind word and a smile for everyone.”
The chaos of the roads, the anarchy of the office, the theatrical spirit of the hypermarkets, and garrulous train journeys; the sensory reassurance of a church and the importance of the beach; the solitude of the soccer stadium and the crowded Italian bedroom; the vertical fixations of the apartment building and the horizontal democracy of the eat-in kitchen. As you venture to these and many other locations rooted in the Italian psyche, you realize that Beppe has become your Dante and shown you a country that “has too much style to be hell” but is “too disorderly to be heaven.”
Ten days, thirty places. From north to south. From food to politics. From saintliness to sexuality. This ironic, methodical, and sentimental examination will help you understand why Italy—as Beppe says—“can have you fuming and then purring in the space of a hundred meters or ten minutes.”
Tim Parks is anything but a gentleman in Verona. So after ten years of living with his Italian wife, Rita, in an Italian condominium bubbling with Italian life around him, the novelist found that he had inadvertently collected a gallery full of splendid characters. In this wittily observed account, Parks introduces readers to his home, a typical provincial Italian neighborhood with a statue of the Virgin at one end of the street, a derelict bottle factory at the other, and a wealth of exotic flora and fauna in between.
Via Colombre, the village’s main street, offers an exemplary hodgepodge of all that is new and old in the bel paese, a point of collision between invading suburbia and diehard peasant tradition in a sometimes madcap, sometimes romantic, always mixed-up world of creeping vines, stuccoed walls, shotguns, security cameras, hypochondria, and expensive sports cars. More than a mere travelogue, Italian Neighbors is a vivid portrait of the real Italy and a compelling story of how even the most foreign people and places gradually assume the familiarity of home.
“One of the most delightful travelogues imaginable . . . so vivid, so packed with delectable details.” —Los Angeles Times Book Review