Between Two Seas

Between Two Seas

by Carmine Abate
     
 

In the years following the Second World War, photographer Hans Heumann travels to southern Italy in search of the light that has long attracted artists. There Heumann meets Giorgio Bellusci, who will accompany him on a journey through southern Italy as he captures the essence of this fabled land in a series of photographs that eventually make him world famous. As… See more details below

Overview

In the years following the Second World War, photographer Hans Heumann travels to southern Italy in search of the light that has long attracted artists. There Heumann meets Giorgio Bellusci, who will accompany him on a journey through southern Italy as he captures the essence of this fabled land in a series of photographs that eventually make him world famous. As Heumann�s stature grows, Bellusci�s dream to rebuild the south�s most famous inn deepens and darkens. The dream slowly becomes a dangerous obsession that will leave Giorgio with blood on his hands and put the two men�s friendship to the test.

With the exuberance of innocence and childlike urgency, the story of Heumann�s fame and Bellusci�s obsession is told through the eyes of Florian�the two men�s grandson, a child of two countries and two cultures that are often at odds, and the unlikely heir to his Italian grandfather�s obsession.

The first of Abate�s novels to appear in English and winner of the Fenice-Europa prize for fiction, this is an exhilarating journey that takes readers to the storied heart of Italy and explores the meaning of memory and the nature of true friendship.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly

Steeped in the muggy summers and rich culture of Calabria, Abate's American debut is the intoxicating story of a man's lifelong obsession to raise from long-abandoned ruins a legendary family inn once visited by Alexandre Dumas. Giorgio Bellusci, born in 1927, is by middle age a relatively prosperous butcher and landowner who answer the demands of local gangsters for protection money with an outburst of murderous violence that sends him to prison. But his dream doesn't die, and he begins work on the inn after being released. The gangsters, meanwhile, want their revenge and blow up the almost reconstructed Fondaco del Fico. With some creative fund-raising and the assistance of Florian, the novel's narrator, the now elderly Giorgio succeeds in finishing his life's work. Abate populates this magical novel with a cast of captivating, emotionally complex characters drawn from multiple generations and from across time, and recreates the rhythms of life in a small village with poetic affection. (Jan.)

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Kirkus Reviews
The paradoxical survival of a lifelong dream through generations of hardship and change is vividly dramatized in this 2002 novel, the Italian author's first in English translation. The narrative comprises four journeys, variously experienced or communicated by protagonist Florian, the son of a German bookkeeper and his highly educated, high-spirited Italian wife Rosanna. The first journey is undertaken by Rosanna's father Giorgio Bellusci, who travels from his home village of Roccalba in southern Italy to the region of Calabria, where he resolves to rebuild a once-famous inn, the Fondaca del Fico, and encounters "aspiring photographer" Hans Heumann (father of Rosanna's future husband Klaus). During subsequent journeys, Florian and his family travel back and forth from their home in Hamburg to Roccalba, where Rosanna visits her numerous relatives and commiserates with her mother. The latter is bereft since Giorgio, having refused "protection" payments to local "brigands," had reacted violently to the brigands' destruction of his farmland (allusions to the film The Godfather are prominent here and elsewhere in the narrative). The process of Florian's maturing is linked to his gradual discovery of his family's history and secrets, including a journey taken in 1835 (the year of a "great earthquake") by Alexandre Dumas and his traveling companion, the artist Jadin, which included a stayover at the Fondaco, then run by Giorgio's ancestor Gioacchino-and another object of brigands' violence. Reading this novel thus requires making connections-exactly as Florian does while simultaneously reuniting the estranged strands of his families and becoming another Bellusci defined and burdened by a legacyof obligation and honor. A moving portrayal of generational continuity, subtly fashioned as an enigmatic tale whose knottiest puzzles lay claim to and enhance the reader's fascination.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781933372402
Publisher:
Europa Editions, Incorporated
Publication date:
01/01/2008
Pages:
192
Product dimensions:
5.52(w) x 8.30(h) x 0.71(d)

Meet the Author

Carmine Abate was born in 1954 in Carfizzi, an Italo-Albanian community in Calabria, Italy. He immigrated to Germany at a young age and then moved to Trentino, northern Italy, where he currently lives. His first book, a collection of short stories, was published in 1984. He has since published numerous prize-winning novels and a collection of poetry.

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