Sicilian Summer: A Story of Honour, Religion and the Perfect by Brian Johnston

By Brian Johnston

Impossible to resist and scrumptious, this multifaceted travelogue delves deep into summer in Sicily—complete with all the passion, energy, politics, and pasta of the Italian island. After accepting a call for participation to wait a affirmation in Sicily, writer Brian Johnston naively expects little greater than the opportunity to immerse himself in real southern Italian hospitality and, after all, the colourful tastes, smells, flavors, and rituals of Sicilian foodstuff. What Johnston encounters and describes is flamboyant kinfolk drama, harmful village politics, and whimsical neighborhood personalities—all whereas portray a desirable photograph of up to date Italy.

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Giuseppe has a Sicilian Summer pages 20 31/8/05 9:15 AM Page 20 Sicilian Summer little red horn dangling beside a crucifix on a long necklace of plastic beads: double insurance. One morning, to my alarm, Giuseppe blunders into the kitchen like Lady Macbeth, clutching a syringe and needle in front of him as if searching for a murder victim. He waves the needle at me and taps his finger on an ampoule of liquid. ‘Perhaps you can give me my vitamin injection,’ he says. Appalled, I tell him I can’t possibly do such a thing.

At various times pyroclastic flows or chunks of falling rock have killed tourists here. One day the mountain will gather its energy and explode, and the island will be engulfed. Visitors to Strómboli are slightly manic, caught between wonder and nervousness. They sunbathe on black sand, admire the lava fields, and listen to the rumblings of the earth’s belly. At night the sky above the village glows orange not with street lamps but with fire. Stop! Vulcano con attivita esplosiva! warn signs as the village peters out.

Her hair is extremely short and sticks up in little spikes, and she wears a smear of bright pink lipstick. Claudia doesn’t seem overjoyed to meet Tina again. In fact, she’s tongue-tied and sullen. As we settle in around the supper table the conversation limps along with embarrassing politeness. ‘My, how you’ve grown, last time I saw you . ’ Claudia manages. ’ We sip our wine and nibble on bread crusts. I tune out of the dreary conversation, thinking to myself: the confirmation isn’t as simple as it seems.

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