Sciascia here is emphasising the total validity of this first-hand testimony as treated the revolutions in his Il quarantotto, included in Gli zii di Sicilia. In doing so, Sciascia challenges the belief that the mafia may be Sciascia’s first two historical stories, Il quarantotto () and Il Consiglio d’Egitto (). But perhaps the words which summarize the poetical and moral world of Sciascia —his Sicily—are to be found in the beautiful short story Il Quarantotto. These.
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Because of the cigarettes I got for my uncle, no one dared fall out with me. When my father got angry at my grasping attitude, my uncle would calm him down, fearing that business might end. He used to wander round the house, forever saying, “I’ll die if I don’t have a cigarette! I sciasvia back up the road, now festive with voices, and when I closed the main door behind me, I felt as if I were in a dream, as if someone were dreaming and I was in that dream, climbing the stairs, tired out, with a tight lump of tears choking in my throat.
My father was talking about Badoglio. My uncle was looking so beaten he quarantotot like a bag quarantktto sawdust, but he livened up on seeing me come in.
He took a packet of Raleigh cigarettes, the one with a bearded man on it, out of his pocket, and loading his voice with gentle hypocrisy, asked me, “How much would you make me pay for a packet of these? I burst into tears. Even if I’m condemned to death, they won’t deny cigarettes to this man.
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Sicilian Uncles by Leonardo Sciascia
Return to Book Page. Preview — Sicilian Uncles by Leonardo Sciascia. Sicilian Uncles by Leonardo Sciascia. The expression ‘Sicilian uncle’ quaranyotto the same sense in Italian as ‘Dutch uncle’ does in English, quaranyotto with sinister overtones of betrayal and inconstancy. The four novellas in Sicilian Uncles political thrillers of a kind – are the first fruits of Sciascia’s maturity. In these stories, illusions about ideology and history are lost in mirth, in suffering, and innocence The expression ‘Sicilian uncle’ has the same sense in Italian as ‘Dutch uncle’ does in English, but with sinister overtones of betrayal and inconstancy.
In these stories, illusions about ideology and history are lost in mirth, in suffering, and innocence is abandoned. Each novella has its historical moment: These occasions and their consequences are registered in the lives of Sciascia’s wonderfully drawn characters.
Each has voice, wit, and a private history which open out onto the wider circumstances of his time, and hint towards the later work of Sciascia. Paperbackpages. Published by Granta Books first published To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up. To ask other readers questions about Sicilian Unclesplease sign up.
Lists with This Book. May 07, William2 rated it really liked it Shelves: I worried they might be weak or formative works. There is not a clunker in the bunch. Be advised, however, they do not focus on those topics the author is most famous for: The unnamed narrator and his friend get up to all kinds of high-jinks. In its fifty pages Sciascia seems to touch on every aspect of the conflict in Sicily.
The uncle is a shrill and unrepentant layabout. The narrator sells him black market cigarettes at extravagant prices which he resents. He doesn’t want it laying about the house. The uncle however will hear none of it. The young narrator teases him mercilessly. The narrator is thrilled by the Americans. His view of what has happened in Italy is free from patriotic fascist claptrap.
The aunt was born in the same poor small town in which her sister and the narrator still live. The aunt has a store somewhere in Brooklyn. She is rich by comparison with her Sicilian relatives. Her unquestionably generous gifts come at a price: For in the end the aunt is the same small-minded provincial she’s always been.
The action is compressed, vivid and fast moving. The cries from the disillusioned uncle remind one of a wounded lion gone into the bush to die.
This is a wonderful story. That he was ever seen in congenial terms, that he ever had millions upon millions of admirers seems incredible. That he is still held in awe by many people today is nauseating. This story shows how a group of village socialists in Sicily deluded themselves into thinking Stalin was a hero.
Calogero is enamoured of Stalin, views him as a good person concerned with the fate of the worker. There is a hilarous scene in which the shrewish Donna Concettina catches the Baron inside the apartment of Mrs. Only Sciascia could have written it. He cowers from what he clearly views as the just rage of the populace. He has Master Carme answer the door. At one point all the local liberals are released from jail where they had been held for some time.
The Baron sees his tidy world turned upside down. Somehow the local Bishop has been able to create an assembly comprised aristocracy, clergy, and peasantry. How can this possibly work? The social rift is too yawning a chasm. Soon several local socialists are dead, murdered in the streets, which may the purpose for which they were released.
Donna Concettina will no longer speak with the Baron who must exchange comments via a third party, sometimes Master Carme. Sciascia is able to give a sense of how the revolution happened in rural Sicily. We see the political forces come into play, but at the same time the story verges on high-grade farce. The tragedy here is that Italy has sent its own poor to fight on the side of Franco and the fascist Falange.
The story seeks to question and inform the reader about the role of Italy in the Spanish Civil War. It does so brilliantly. This collection is highly recommended. Tre racconti, pubblicati per la prima volta nele poi riproposti, con l’aggiunta di un quarto, nel Il terzo racconto sembra invece una condensazione dei temi trattati ne “Il gattopardo” di Tomasi di Lampedusa, pubblicato postumo, anch’esso nel La narrazione procede sciolta e carezzevole in tutti quattro i racconti, condita da ironia e disincanto.
Leonardo Sciascia, coltissimo e celebre scrittore siciliano, in questa raccolta ci presenta alcuni suoi racconti molto belli e tutti ambientati in Sicilia: Me ha resultado divertido y curioso, aunque a ratos un poco pesado. May 01, Mary added it. Straight back into life as it happened for quarantoyto during WWII or with a hilarious portrayal sciascoa local aristo’s affair. Some great laughs along the way. Oct 31, Andrew Hudson rated it really liked it Shelves: Although there are probably any number of reasons for me to think otherwise, even in my own reading experience, when I consider translated literature I never imagine it to be genre work – as if being translated were a genre in itself.
They may be experimental texts, like of Perec or Calvino, autobiography or characterful short stories or even, like Sulphuric Acidwhat is superficially a thriller – but it is as though I mentally consign their quaarantotto to a general category marked foreign drama re Although there are probably any number of reasons for me to think otherwise, even in my own reading experience, when I consider translated literature I never imagine it to be genre work – as if being translated were a genre in itself.
They may be experimental texts, like of Perec or Calvino, autobiography or characterful short stories or even, like Sulphuric Acidwhat is superficially a thriller – but it is as though I mentally consign their authors to a general category marked foreign drama regardless of what it is they actually write. Standing in a bookshop in Trapani, Sicily, desperately searching the English language section for something to read on the flight home, I had the name Leonardo Sciascia pointed out to me, and quickly learn he is regarded by jl peers as one of the greatest modern writers – and a writer of detective fiction.
I chose Sicilian Uncles instead of one of his novels without hesitation; four shorter stories in which to test his waters, all the time freshly recognising this unfair tendency of mine and looking quarantoyto to challenging it.
Of course, none of quaranfotto are detective stories. All are, more or less, foreign dramas ; but in the sense of shining a fierce light onto a society which is largely alien to me and bringing it into sharp focus, revealing strange things lurking in the dark, casting mysterious shadows – bringing it startlingly to life in a way the experience of a seaside resort tends not to.
The blurb on the back cover reads, “A Sicilian uncle is a mentor, a patron, but a sinister and treacherous one” – and the first story, The American Auntperfectly embodies this assertion.
In a strongly nationalist, fascist-supporting community the arrival of the Americans means a bitter swallowing of pride, but it occurs with immediate and fervent effect, presenting them as a nation of turn-coats. For the young narrator America represents something grand and he enjoys provoking his uncle in particular over this involuntary social revolution, one which he fears will see him snatched from his bed for eciascia former loyalties; but as their presence grows ever stronger something in the sight of the American forces and his people’s willing capitulation disturbs the boy, fills him with anxiety and fear for his home.
I finished it thinking how excellently the blurb had described the nature of a Sicilian uncle; then I turned the page and discovered I had only finished part one of the story. The arrival of the forces of freedom heralds prosperity in the form of his aunt, living in the heart of America and sxiascia its great wealth; which, like the remote relatives of everyone in the town, she sees fit to bestow from long range as soon as circumstances allow.
Soon the town’s entire population are wearing American Clothes, eating American Food, using American Goods, and soon enough too this American Aunt will arrive in person – but with her she brings the real victory of the Sicilian Uncle over his nephew.
Sciascia – Il Quarantotto by Rodolfo Barradas on Prezi
This is the only literal uncle to be found in the collection; the others are sometimes obvious, sometimes less so. A more consistent feature of Sciascia’s tales is political or social division and the second story, The Death of Stalinvoices the communist perspective in a time when to be a minion of Moscow was to risk being vanished off to some island prison in the night; its narrator, who believes his dreams about the Russian leader to be prophetic of the ultimate victory of global communism, views Stalin as an uncle both to himself and the Sicilian communist movement.
His is a moving story, of a desperate need for vindication of his beliefs and of painful disillusionment.
Again the dominant feature here is corruption, the betrayal of one’s ideals or subverting those of others. The nominal uncle comes in the form of the local landed gentry, a philandering Baron in league with the corrupt officials of the town and church, and to whom the narrator’s father is a bondsman.