Book: Sicilian Defence by Alejandro Luquecategories: Book, Sicily, Short Stories, Sicilian Noir, Palermo, Translation, Literary Fiction
Alejandro Luqueabout this book: The Sicilian Defence is a short story compilation born from an obsession. After making two trips to the island of Sicily in very quick succession, Alejandro was left absolutely fascinated, not only by its marvellous nooks and crannies, but also by the power of its literature. That such a small place has given the world two Nobel Prize winners, in addition to some of the best exponents of Italian and European letters, makes it a very propitious space for inspiration.
The eight stories take a diverse look at modern Sicily. The title comes from the last and longest of the stories, The Sicilian Defence. A once-lauded Sicilian writer starts to pen a book which gains favour with the critics once again. He refuses to finish his novel, but the unstoppable publicity machine has already started to roll with dangerous consequences. Di Giovanni's novel unfolds in parallel with the story of his own actions.
The tale of Enzo G's upbringing is told from the perspective of his school friend. Enzo is talented and charismatic, but troublesome forces are moving behind the scenes. Gradually, Enzo is drawn into the same complicated world as his brothers.
A and R is the story of a relationship set against the backdrop of the couple's visit to Sicily's capital, Palermo. A note hidden in the pages of a hotel magazine triggers a conversation that sees the pair question their own future. A twist of fate may change the course of their lives.
A Throw of the Dice is a touch of Sicilian noir. A private detective whose relative successes have given him a degree of notoriety, finds his next case more problematic than he could have imagined. The outcome will present him with the most difficult decision of his career.
The island's literary history informs some of the stories, as does the compilation format itself, which was used so effectively by Pirandello, Bufalino and Sciascia; the greats of Sicilian literature.
The full list of stories is as follows: Memories of Enzo G, A and R, The Decline of the Don Juan, La Malavoglia, A Throw of the Dice, The Bruised Goddess, A Spin of the Bottle, The Sicilian Defence.
The original Spanish version of this translation won the IV Alfonso Cossio Short Story Prize
The author, Alejandro Luque is a journalist and writer (Cádiz 1974). He lives in Seville.
The text was translated by Andrew Edwards.
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