SICILIAN TRAGEDEE by Ottavio Cappellani


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A Sicilian village stages a murderous version of Shakespeare’s romantic tragedy Romeo and Juliet.

The Italian author brings to this book a subtler version of the over-the-top style that characterized Who Is Lou Sciortino? (2007). Last time the subject was war; this time it’s love in San Giovanni la Punta. “How true it is that love hits you when you least expect it, and above all, when you’re least looking for it,” he writes. Passions burn hottest within two characters—when they’re not busy trying to further their own diabolical interests. Mafia chieftain Alfio Turrisi should be busy with the business of corrupting Catania, but instead the lothario has been struck dumb by Betty Pirrotta, a spoiled model-actress who’s also the beloved daughter of Turi Pirrotta, a competitor for the region’s petrochemical rights. Simultaneously, flamboyant theater director Tino Cagnotto is intoxicated by Bobo, a thick-witted but handsome young actor who inspires him to stage a reimagined version of Romeo and Juliet. With operatic affairs and the business of violence swirling around it, the production is doomed to failure, but not before it inspires some biting comedy. Cappellani exhibits the same gleeful affection for profane gangsters evident in his debut, but this time his cast includes a bloodthirsty contessa, a crooked culture minister and other rough-hewn players.

A fierce, fast and funny take on the Bard.

Pub Date: Oct. 21st, 2008
ISBN: 978-0-374-53104-1
Page count: 336pp
Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1st, 2008


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