It was my birthday last December when the bel fidanzato and I were in Melbourne. My brother bought me a book 'Siclian Summer' since he knows that I lived in Sicily - he came to Taormina to find me after all, and he also knows I love all things Italian. I wanted to save this book for a while so only opened it up a few weeks ago, after returning from my own weekend in Sicily.
The novel is written by Brian Johnston who is an "...Irishman born in Nigeria and raised in Switzerland..." who now calls himself Australian, currently living in Sydney!
Brian, a travel writer and food enthusiast is invited to Sicily by his Italian turned American turned Australian friend. She has been asked to be sponsor at her god daughters confirmation - and that thought alone led me to believe there would be many an issue as from my experience, confirmations in Italy never run smoothly.
The back of the book says "...Irresistible and delicious, this multifaceted travelogue delves deep into summer in Sicily—complete with all the passion, power, politics, and pasta of the Italian island. After accepting an invitation to attend a confirmation in Sicily, author Brian Johnston naively expects little more than the chance to immerse himself in genuine southern Italian hospitality and, of course, the vibrant tastes, smells, flavors, and rituals of Sicilian food. What Johnston encounters and describes is flamboyant family drama, dangerous village politics, and eccentric local personalities—all while painting a fascinating picture of contemporary Italy..."
I could not sum up the book better if I tried (so I didn't bother myself.) It is rare that I read a book from front to back without skipping any pages. I will admit that I did skip a few pages here and there, but that was because he writes about the history of a lot of Sicilian towns he visits. Interesting - yes - if you have not been to these places, or don't know anything about them...but having lived in Sicily and visited most of the towns mentioned, I tended to skim read these paragraphs. (Hey - I worked for a travel company and had to tell customers all about these places so you can understand that I wanted to skip those bits!) The book is easy to read, not at all boring and delves into peoples personal lives but in a relatively light hearted way. He writes in a down-to-earth way, and he has a talent for describing the village folk without making them into over-the-top.
If you have a chance to read this book, especially if you have been or are planning to go to Sicily then I would definitely recommend it.