by Maria Corti

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Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
This vivid and beautifully written novel uses different voices to relate the days in 1480 when Turks attacked the small southern Italian fishing village of Otranto . Simple Colangelo describes how he and his fellow fishermen were enlisted to protect their home and reminisces about meeting with his future wife in secret . When Francesco Zurlo arrives to govern Otranto , he has to deal not only with unfriendly subjects but also with a stubborn son who dreams of fighting the Turks, and his only friend's infatuation with a much younger woman named Idrusa . Idrusa also speaks. The young widow of a fisherman she never loved, she carries on an affair with a Spanish officer under the watchful eyes of her neighbors . Another narrator, Nachira, hides out in a wine cellar to avoid the conquering Turks and then is threatened with death if he does not convert to Islam. A year later, Aloise de Marco describes the inhabitants of Otranto as they celebrate their liberation. A flawless translation maintains the individuality of each voice, and in an informative preface Bright cogently explains the choice to use modern speech in a tale that reverberates in the 20th century on different levels, making observations about class, gender and politics. (Nov.)

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Italica Press
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