10 books like A Feast of Narrative

By Tiziano Thomas Dossena (editor), Dominic Anthony Campanile (illustrator),

Here are 10 books that authors have personally recommended if you like A Feast of Narrative. Shepherd is a community of 7,000+ authors sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Christ Stopped at Eboli

By Carlo Levi, Frances Frenaye (translator),

Book cover of Christ Stopped at Eboli: The Story of a Year

This book does not take place in Sicily however, the plights of the inhabitants of a small southern town in Luncania are the same as those Italians in parts of Sicily where even in the ’60s, many families lived in caves. Carlo Levi, a doctor, painter, and writer is sent to Eboli because of his opposition to Mussolini and Italy’s Fascist government. Levi’s book is about the harsh life of its citizens who continued to live according to the traditions and beliefs of their ancestors, including healing by natural methods and black magic and superstitions.   

Christ Stopped at Eboli

By Carlo Levi, Frances Frenaye (translator),

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Christ Stopped at Eboli as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

'There should be a history of this Italy, a history outside the framework of time, confining itself to that which is changeless and eternal, in other words, a mythology. This Italy has gone its way in darkness and silence, like the earth, in a sequence of recurrent seasons and recurrent misadventures. Every outside influence has broken over it like a wave, without leaving a trace.'

So wrote Carlo Levi - doctor, painter, philosopher, and man of conscience - in describing the land and the people of Lucania, where he was banished in 1935, at the start of the Ethiopian war,…


Siciliana

By Gaetano Cipolla,

Book cover of Siciliana: Studies on the Sicilian Ethos and Literature

Dr. Gaetano Cipolla is the retired head of the Foreign Language Department at St. John’s University, New York. He has spent his academic career researching and writing about the Sicilian culture and its people in order to counteract the stereotypical image of Sicilians and Italians as primarily spaghetti eaters and mafia. Dr. Cipolla understands the many dialects of the Sicilian language and, through his writings, has reclaimed the literary greatness of forgotten Sicilian writers by translating their poetry and other works. To overcome the pending extinction of Sicilian, he has written and developed a two-part course that teaches the language. His course is steadily being adopted in a number of universities

Siciliana

By Gaetano Cipolla,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Siciliana as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

This is revised and expanded edition of Sicilian: Studies on the Sicilian Ethos. It contains 4 new chapters and a new index of names. Eight chapters are devoted to the characteristics of Sicilians, their history, and their culture. The other 8 are devoted to the literature produced by writers and poets of Sicily, including Veneziano, Meli, Martoglio, Pirandello and Camilleri.


A Hidden Sicilian History

By Ettore Grillo,

Book cover of A Hidden Sicilian History

Ettore Grillo is a retired criminal attorney from Enna, Sicily, who spends his time writing and traveling. This is the second edition of his first book. I am drawn to historical fiction and creative fiction writing. They are wonderfully entertaining ways to learn about cultures and history within the story’s setting and plot. Grillo teaches about life in Enna, Sicily including the feasts, the traditions, and the people who are held together by customs while trying to solve a family mystery. 

A Hidden Sicilian History

By Ettore Grillo,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked A Hidden Sicilian History as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Is there life after death? A Hidden Sicilian History: Second Edition presents an intriguing and easy-to-read historical novel that starts with the investigation of a mysterious death.

While doing research in the public library in Enna, Sicily, a young man notices an ancient scroll has drifted from a shelf onto the floor. It appears to have slipped from a gap between two volumes about the Spanish Inquisition.

Though he expects it to be related to life in Sicily at the time of Spanish rule, instead the handwritten scroll reports a singular drama that was performed on the stage of the…


Ameri-Sicula

By Mark Hehl (editor),

Book cover of Ameri-Sicula: Sicilian Culture in America

Mark Hehl gathered a bunch of Sicilian American writers to contribute pieces about their remembrances of their grandparents, those 1st or 2nd waves of immigrants that came to this country. American readers can relate better to the settings of Brooklyn, Philadelphia, Boston, and New Orleans than to the small Sicilian villages like Bisacquino, Sant’Anna, Chiusa Sclafani, the towns from which many immigrants embarked, and the towns from which these customs were carried into American cities.

Ameri-Sicula

By Mark Hehl (editor),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Ameri-Sicula as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The volume is a collaborative effort by twenty-eight talented writers to describe their Sicilian culture while living in the United States. Each contributor offers interesting personal insights in what it meant for him/her to grow up in a Sicilian environment while navigating through the difficulties posed by the encounter with the American way of life.


On Persephone's Island

By Mary Taylor Simeti,

Book cover of On Persephone's Island: A Sicilian Journal

This memoir of a Sicilian year beautifully weaves together Simeti’s personal experience in rural Sicily and Palermo with her extensive knowledge of history, mythology, and culinary traditions. Simeti’s honesty truly prepared me for my first trip to Sicily – giving me a full picture of the island’s light and dark sides. 

On Persephone's Island

By Mary Taylor Simeti,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked On Persephone's Island as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

This is a year of Sicilian life, its seasons and its sacred festivals, its gorgeous fruits and demanding family life, its casual assassinations and village feasts, its weather and the neighbours. It chronicles a life divided between an apartment in the city of Palermo with the weekends and summer devoted to sustaining life in an old family farm. What makes this journal truly exceptional is that Mary Simeti is both an outsider, (an American who had studied medieval history and worked as a volunteer on a social welfare programme) and an insider. For this journal was written after twenty years…


The Shape of Water

By Andrea Camilleri, Stephen Sartarelli (translator),

Book cover of The Shape of Water

Until his death in 2019, the Sicilian-born Camilleri was the king of the Italian mystery novel scene. His detective, Inspector Montalbano, became a beloved fixture in Italy thanks to a TV series based on his adventures. I love Montalbano because a) he’s a decent man trapped in an often-corrupt Sicilian environment, and b) boy, does he love great Italian food! The series is 28 books long; it’s worth starting with the first one to see if you love this world.


The Shape of Water

By Andrea Camilleri, Stephen Sartarelli (translator),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Shape of Water as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The Shape of Water is the first in Andrea Camilleri's wry, brilliantly compelling Sicilian crime series, featuring Inspector Montalbano. This edition with a stunning redesigned cover.

The goats of Vigata once grazed on the trash-strewn site still known as the Pasture. Now local enterprise of a different sort flourishes: drug dealers and prostitutes of every flavour. But their discreet trade is upset when two employees of the Splendour Refuse Collection Company discover the body of engineer Silvio Luparello, one of the local movers and shakers, apparently deceased in flagrante at the Pasture. The coroner's verdict is death from natural causes…


The Leopard

By Giuseppe Di Lampedusa,

Book cover of The Leopard

E. M. Forster famously described Lampedusa’s solitary work as “one of the great lonely books.” It is a masterpiece that simultaneously captures both the peculiarity of Sicily within the experience of the wars of Italian Unification while brilliantly portraying characters confronting universal human emotions of love, loss, and struggle in times of momentous change. Lampedusa based the book’s protagonist, the Prince of Salina, on his own grandfather. The story, told in a series of episodes across half a century, while fictionalized, captures the essential elements of the birth of the modern Italian state, the rise of a new class of elites at the expense of the old, landed aristocracy, and the often-fraught attempt to create a unified Italian identity. There is a well-known film with Burt Lancaster in the starring role along with Alain Delon and Claudia Cardinale that really evokes the visual power of the subject, but the book…

The Leopard

By Giuseppe Di Lampedusa,

Why should I read it?

4 authors picked The Leopard as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The Leopard is a modern classic which tells the spellbinding story of a decadent, dying Sicilian aristocracy threatened by the approaching forces of democracy and revolution.

'There is a great feeling of opulence, decay, love and death about it' Rick Stein

In the spring of 1860, Fabrizio, the charismatic Prince of Salina, still rules over thousands of acres and hundreds of people, including his own numerous family, in mingled splendour and squalor. Then comes Garibaldi's landing in Sicily and the Prince must decide whether to resist the forces of change or come to terms with them.

'Every once in a…


Death of an Englishman

By Magdalen Nabb,

Book cover of Death of an Englishman

This delightful mystery set in Florence not only intrigues the reader with its clever, twist-filled plot but also with its insights into daily life and culture in Italy. The characters are enjoyable and show many humorous and unique facts of Italian life. Nabb knows her Florence and her Italians, and her ability to describe both make a reader wish to accompany her on her next trip!

Death of an Englishman

By Magdalen Nabb,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Death of an Englishman as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Introducing Marshal Salvatore Guarnaccia of the Florentine carabinieri, a Sicilian stationed far from home. He wants to go south for Christmas to spend the holiday with his family, but he is laid up with the 'flu. At this awkward moment, the death of a retired Englishman is reported. A most inconvenient time for a murder case. Who has shot Mr Langley-Smythe in the back? And why has Scotland Yard felt it appropriate to send two detectives, one of whom speaks no Italian, to 'help' the marshal and his colleagues with their investigation? Most importantly for the marshal, ever the Italian,…


The Day of Battle

By Rick Atkinson,

Book cover of The Day of Battle: The War in Sicily and Italy, 1943-1944

The Day of Battle was Volume Two of Rick Atkinson’s acclaimed Liberation Trilogy. While all three volumes of this series are well worth reading, Atkinson was at his best in the second volume which deals with the much-neglected campaigns of Sicily and Italy. The doyen of British military history and a veteran of the Italian campaign, the late Sir Michael Howard wrote that The Day of Battle was ‘one of the truly outstanding records of the Second World War’. I think it is too.

The Day of Battle

By Rick Atkinson,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Day of Battle as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In An Army at Dawn - winner of the Pulitzer Prize - Rick Atkinson provided a dramatic and authoritative history of the Allied triumph in North Africa. Now, in The Day of the Battle, he follows the strengthening American and British armies as they invade Sicily in July 1943 and then, mile by bloody mile, fight their way north. The Italian campaign's outcome was never certain; in fact, Roosevelt, Churchill and their military advisors engaged in heated debate about whether an invasion of the so-called soft underbelly of Europe was even a good idea. But once underway, the commitment to…


The Sicilian Vespers

By Steven Runciman,

Book cover of The Sicilian Vespers: A History of the Mediterranean World in the Later Thirteenth Century

This is perhaps the best book by this prolific historian, because of the way in which he successfully weaves together the histories of lands right across the Mediterranean and beyond: Aragon in Spain, France, Italy, Greece, and the Levant, focussing on a successful rebellion in Sicily in 1282 that permanently changed the face of the Mediterranean.

The Sicilian Vespers

By Steven Runciman,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Sicilian Vespers as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

On 30 March 1282, as the bells of Palermo were ringing for Vespers, the Sicilian townsfolk, crying 'Death to the French', slaughtered the garrison and administration of their Angevin King. Seen in historical perspective it was not an especially big massacre: the revolt of the long-subjugated Sicilians might seem just another resistance movement. But the events of 1282 came at a crucial moment. Steven Runciman takes the Vespers as the climax of a great narrative sweep covering the whole of the Mediterranean in the thirteenth century. His sustained narrative power is displayed here with concentrated brilliance in the rise and…


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