Midnight in Sicily: On Art, Food, History, Travel and la Cosa Nostra
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A New York Times Book Review Notable Book of the Year
A New York Public Library Best Book of the Year
From the author of M and A Death in Brazil comes Midnight in Sicily.
South of mainland Italy lies the island of Sicily, home to an ancient culture that--with its stark landscapes, glorious coastlines, and extraordinary treasure troves of art and archeology--has seduced travelers for centuries. But at the heart of the island's rare beauty is a network of violence and corruption that reaches into every corner of Sicilian life: Cosa Nostra, the Mafia. Peter Robb lived in southern Italy for over fourteen years and recounts its sensuous pleasures, its literature, politics, art, and crimes.
eighteen, I was a mother at twenty-one and a widow at twenty-three. Piera was ten years older than Rita and remembered Nicola cuddling the little girl when she was six years old. Later Piera wanted to leave Nicola and his mafia life. But I hadn’t taken the honour of the Atrias into account. They forced me to marry him. She was working, though, on getting Nicola to turn when he too was shot down in front of her, in the bar slash pizzeria she ran in town. I loved Nicola, he was the father of my
rather Sciascia’s imagining of him. He wanted to keep everyone happy … In spite of his virility, he was very fragile psychologically. As for the aftermath, It’s a story out of Pirandello. That’s the only Sicilian thing about it. There are so many different truths that you can’t piece the thing together. You know what I think? Pasquale had said back at the mill. They just sat round the table and divvied the money up between them. The communist party and the Vatican. And the son? I asked. What
antimafia stance to promote their own careers. The attack was soon out of Sciascia’s hands. It was seized on by antiantimafia interests who used the cover of his great prestige to pump it into one of those controversies that were so often made to serve dubious politics in Italy, a duststorm. Sciascia’s article led directly to Falcone’s defeat at the end of 1987 in the election of a new Palermo chief prosecutor. A magistrate was chosen whose last case as criminal prosecutor had been in northern
was the last time I saw him. I left a couple of days later and it was years before I went back to Rio. The night in the kitchen at Copacabana with the carving knife felt like the logical and personal conclusion of various other things I’d seen and experienced on that and earlier visits in the early eighties. It was hard not to feel that visiting Rio was asking for trouble. Things were starting to break apart in Rio. The signs were everywhere. In that very building, the day I had rented the
was savage and vengeful and later caused his father a lot of trouble. It certainly was savage and vengeful. Before the fascist repression and the war, Sicily’s still-rural mafia was either that of the large estates of the interior or that of the orchards, the mafia that exploited the citrus cultivators of the coastal strip. Bagheria was the centre of the orchard mafia who terrorized the orchardists through their control of the water supply. In 1888 they murdered the mayor of Bagheria during a