An award-winning story about one of the remote Aeolian islands off Sicily/Italy, a volcanic
archipelago which is a UNESCO World Heritage Area. First published in German in Switzerland.
What happens when a 23-year old student takes his books and leaves Switzerland for the
south of Italy? He finds an island of 9.5 square kilometers, which others have left in
search of work in Australia, Argentina and the USA.
The villages on this island are like ruined ghost towns covered in ferns. Geckoes and
snakes live in the houses. The student works alongside the last inhabitants through winter
storms and earthquakes. He makes wine and bakes bread. He lives with very little money
on the borderline of civilization in a cavern in the mountain. Roaming a wild, untouched nature.
One morning he is standing on a mountain in front of a ruin and has the strange feeling of
having come home. On the very same day, a contract is signed. The poet of the island
sells the ruin to the poet from Northern Europe. Together they plant a palm-tree.
That is the end of the dream of a house on the island. And the beginning of reality. A true
In 1993 Roland Zoss received a literary award from the City of Berne for this little book,
which was first published in German. “The author transforms language into perfumes and
sounds, into impressions and landscapes, with intense and stunning pictures.”