#10 Books set in Sicily

The dance of the seagullAnyone going to Sicily? It’s a fantastic place to visit, soak up the atmosphere with any of these titles.

The dance of the seagull by Andrea Camilleri – Rated 5 star by 12 readers, this is just one of the Inspector Montalbano novels adapted for TV and filmed on the south-eastern coast of Sicily in Ragusa, Scicli and Punta Secca -causing a tourist boom.

Inspector Montalbano is sitting on his porch at dawn when he sees a seagull fall from the sky. It performs a strange dance, before lying down to die. Perplexed by what he has witnessed, the scene hangs over him like an omen. About to depart for a holiday, Montalbano pops to the police station to tie up loose ends but when his dear colleague Fazio is discovered missing, he instead launches a desperate search.

Beatrice and Benedick by Marina Fiorato – Hidden in the language of Shakespeare’s best-loved comedy ‘Much Ado About Nothing’, are several clues to an intriguing tale. It seems that the witty lovers Beatrice and Benedick, had a previous youthful love affair which ended bitterly. But how did they meet, why did the part, and what bought them together again?

The Leopard by Giuseppe Tomasi di Lampedusa – This masterpiece is set amongst an aristocratic family facing social Time on my handsand political changes in the wake of Garibaldi’s invasion of Sicily in 1860. At the head of the family is the prince, Don Fabrizio. Proud, stubborn, he is accustomed to knowing his own place in the world & expects his household to be run accordingly

The villa by Rosanna Ley – Initially resistant to her daughter, Tess, going back to her roots, Flavia realises the secrets from her past are about to be revealed and decides to try to explain her actions. Meanwhile, Tess’ teenage daughter Ginny is stressed by college, and all three women are seeking answers. Will Villa Sirena bring them together?

The Silent Duchess by Dacia Maraini – This novel tells the story of three generations of the Ucria family, seen through the eyes of the young Duchess Marianna. Married at 13 to her own uncle, set apart from others by her disability, she searches for fulfilment in a society in which women face either marriage and endless childbearing or a life within the walls of a convent

The Food of Love Cookery School by Nicky Pellegrino – Luca Amore runs cooking holidays in the Sicilian mountain town of Favio…

The Godfather by Mario Puzo – Mafia leader Vito Corleone, The Godfather, is the a benevolent despot who stops at nothing to gain and hold power. Set in Long Island, Hollywood and Sicily this is a story of a feudal society within society which does not hesitate to consolidate its power

Killing ground by Gerald Seymour – A young Englishwoman finds herself at the heart of a dangerous plot to trap the head of the Sicilian Mafia. In this thriller, Seymour truly captures the brooding atmosphere of Mafia-dominated Sicily

Time on my hands by Giorgio Vasta – Palermo 1978. Christian Democrat leader Aldo Moro has been kidnapped in Rome by the notorious Red Brigades and found dead in a car boot two months after his disappearance . Three 11-year-old schoolboys avidly follow the news of the abduction as their admiration for the brigatisti grows. When the boys themselves resolve to abduct a classmate & incarcerate him in a makeshift ‘people’s prison’, the darkness within their world, and the world of the novel, becomes all-pervasive.

I Malavoglia: (the house by the medlar tree) by Giovanni Verga, 1840-1922 -This translation is a tragic tale of poverty, honour and survival where the weak go to the wall unmourned.