Conversations in Sicily

( 1 )

Overview

Conversations in Sicily holds a special place in the annals of literature.
It stands as a modern classic not only for its powerful thematic resonance as one of the great novels of Italian anti-fascism but also as a trailblazer for its style, which blends literary modernism with the pre-modern fable in a prose of lyric beauty. Comparing Vittorini's work to Picasso's, Italo Calvino described Conversations as "the book-Guernica."
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Overview

Conversations in Sicily holds a special place in the annals of literature.
It stands as a modern classic not only for its powerful thematic resonance as one of the great novels of Italian anti-fascism but also as a trailblazer for its style, which blends literary modernism with the pre-modern fable in a prose of lyric beauty. Comparing Vittorini's work to Picasso's, Italo Calvino described Conversations as "the book-Guernica."
The novel begins at a time in the narrator's life when nothing seems to matter; whether he is reading newspaper posters blaring of wartime massacres, lying in bed with his wife or girlfriend, or flipping through the pages of a dictionary it is all the same to him—until he embarks on a journey back to Sicily, the home he has not seen in some fifteen years. In traveling through the Sicilian countryside and in variously hilarious and tragic conversations with its people—his indomitable mother in particular—he reconnects with his roots and rediscovers some basic human values.
In the introduction Hemingway wrote for the American debut of Conversations (published as In Sicily by New Directions in 1949) he remarked: "I care very much about Vittorini's ability to bring rain with him when he comes, if the earth is dry and that is what you need." More recently, American critic Donald Heiney wrote that in this one book, Vittorini "like Rabelais and Cervantes...adds a new artistic dimension to the history of literature."

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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
Vittorini was arrested and jailed by the fascists on account of this 1941 novel. After learning that his father has abandoned his mother, a son returns to his roots and is reintroduced to the land and people of his past. This reprint retains the introduction by Hemingway that appeared in the 1949 U.S. edition. That's worth the price alone. Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780811214551
  • Publisher: New Directions Publishing Corporation
  • Publication date: 12/28/2000
  • Series: Classics Ser.
  • Pages: 144
  • Sales rank: 287,153
  • Product dimensions: 5.20 (w) x 8.00 (h) x 0.50 (d)

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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted November 13, 2004

    Extraordinary!

    Conversations in Sicily is Vittorini's masterpiece. Each and every word has such great depth. Intellectuals will truly enjoy the read. It is impossible to do this novel justice in such a short description (as even the publisher and critics fail to capture its true significance), yet I must say, the story is not as simple as it seems. The real story lies in what goes unsaid and what is truly meant in Vittorini's text. This is not simply a story of a journey, rather a commentary on Fascist Italy and the dangers of abandoning humanity. A truly great read that is applicable even today.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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