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A property harbouring a gruesome secret goes up for sale. Two men—perhaps, the wrong men—are shot in plain daylight. Nothing is what it seems. And matters do not turn out as anticipated. De Angelis, an inscrutable northerner, is travelling to a small town perched somewhere in Sicily’s hinterland to negotiate a real estate transaction, only to find himself embroiled in a criminal conspiracy. While en route, the train he’s on mysteriously breaks down, forcing him to spend the night in a squalid whistle stop. What follows is a web of unsettling events, involving child prostitution and brazen killings, leading to the abrupt demise of his business deal. But De Angelis is undeterred and intent on discovering what went wrong with his transaction. As he embarks on a reckless sleuthing, an unexpected turn of events sends him into a tailspin. At the heart of it is an alluring blue-eyed girl, Marinella. The chance encounter with the eleven-year-old traps him in a psychological and moral cul-de-sac, leaving him no choice but to confront the type of man he really is. Told in a cinematic, darkly humorous genre-bending prose, The Transaction traces De Angelis’ Kafkaesque descent into deviancy.
Guglielmo D’Izzia was born and raised in Sicily. He’s an actor, a writer, and a gourmand. His artistic pursuits have led him to some of the greatest cities in the world: Rome, New York City, and eventually Toronto, where he now resides. He’s a proud graduate of the creative writing program at the University of Toronto School of Continuing Studies. The Transaction, his debut novel, won the 2016 Marina Nemat Award. He’s currently working on his second novel.
Read an Excerpt
...even though I'm well aware it's impossible for her to see my face where I'm standing, at least not fully, she seems to be staring right at me. Feeling faint, I lean against the wall. I close my eyes to stop the room and the distorted faces of the mourners from swirling. Droplets of cold sweat stream down my temples. I reach for the handkerchief in my right pocket and zigzag it across my face.
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Mysterious, stark and cinematic, Guglielmo D’Izzia’s debut novel The Transaction takes the reader on an array of escalating and disturbing encounters. Perception is everything in the Sicilian town of Figallia where an out-of-town businessman from ‘the north’ becomes immersed in small-town life and its history of menace. Rife with dark undercurrents like a Giorgio de Chirico painting, the surface is not what it seems. Eerily detailed and atmospheric, this tightly controlled narrative brims with tension.
Guglielmo D’Izzia’s first novel is a dish seasoned with mystery, suspense, sensuality and Sicily. A slow train ride, an unscheduled stop in a southern Italian town inhabited by a collection of unpredictable characters who leap into your imagination with more fervor than the heat and fever of a Sicilian sun. This darkly lit mystery, delivered with quick and natural dialogue, takes many twists and turns leading to the suspense of the very last page. A fine debut from a writer you will hear from again and again.
An amazingly confident narrative voice in an attention-grabbing debut novel. The landscapes and characters come vividly to life as the air of menace intensifies, page by page. It’s beyond me how a story so drenched in sunlight can feel so dark, how such innocent dialogue can bear so much irony, how so few words can immerse us so deeply, so quickly in this atmosphere. It bears comparison with the major voices of European Modernism and shows extraordinary promise.
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