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Original Essays | April 11, 2014

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9 Remote Warehouse Travel Writing- General

Sicily, It's Not Quite Tuscany

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Sicily, It's Not Quite Tuscany Cover

ISBN13: 9781742376790
ISBN10: 1742376797
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Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

Packed with history, culture, misadventure, and a little Mafioso action, the story of a newly married couple and the year they spent in Sicily

Gill and I had dreamt of living in Italy for as long as we'd been together.

This is the story of an Aussie couple who sought a Mediterranean Sea change only to find themselves in the sprawling Sicilian city of Catania—the "anti-Tuscany" of Italy. There, any romantic visions they'd had of restoring a villa or stamping their entwined feet in vats of Chianti grapes disappeared faster than the chief witness in a Cosa Nostra trial. Shamus and Gill's tiny apartment in Catania was located in a grim neighborhood opposite a triple-X cinema and a shop selling coffins, nearby Mount Etna erupted soon after their arrival, a mystery ailment left Shamus in a neck brace, they crashed a Vespa, and they had regular dealings with at least one Mafioso. This, then, is an Italian sea change with grit. But it's also a story of optimism, endurance, and acceptance; an exploration of the minutiae of Sicilian culture, history, food, and religion; and an example of how to find beauty—and humor—in the most unexpected of places.

About the Author

Shamus Sillar worked as the managing editor of two lifestyle magazine groups, first in Shanghai and now in Singapore, after his year in Italy with his wife. His work has been published by Condé Nast Traveler and National Geographic.

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peter in port, September 10, 2013 (view all comments by peter in port)
In the early 1990s, I was considering taking a trip to Sicily to look up my family's heritage and to enjoy a vacation. I stopped in the New York office of the Italian Government Tourism board, and asked if they had any literature about trips to Sicily. Mind you, the person I was asking was an employee of the Italian government. He told me not to go to Sicily. He told me that the Mafia was rife, and that it was very dangerous. Fortunately, I ignored this fool's advice and visited Sicily. And loved it. And went back for another vacation.
Shamus Sillar, an Australian academic and law school drop out, and his wife, an Australian teacher, lived together in Sicily, in a small apartment in Catania for a year. Their story is written from the perspective of an English-speaking writer residing in Italy, a sub-genre covered by a few other writers such as Tim Parks, Barbara Grizzuti Harrison, and Dianne Hales. However, none of those authors lived in Sicily. Sicily is Italy revved up to eleven like a Spinal Tap amplifier. Shamus Sillar, who is a delightfully dry wit, employs a few Australianisms to make his point that despite the smoke, the litter, the chaos, the extreme devotion to Catholicism and sex, there is a beauty to Sicily that is unmatched elsewhere. I loved this book, and found it extremely informative. Sillar was a blocked writer given an advance to write a Roman history, who becomes a house husband in a really poor neighborhood in Catania, a very smoky, dirty working class city, while his wife teaches English in a local school. The author takes side trips all over Sicily, but on a budget, and his adventures and misadventures are nearly always amusing, and often quite moving. I bought this book at a discounted price, and I don't know if it has been remaindered, but in my opinion, it is very well written and right up there with all the other great travel books, including those of the aforementioned expats, and Jan Morris.
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Product Details

ISBN:
9781742376790
Author:
Sillar, Shamus
Publisher:
Allen and Unwin
Subject:
Essays & Travelogues
Subject:
Travel, Italy
Subject:
Travel Writing-General
Copyright:
Edition Description:
Trade Paper
Publication Date:
20130107
Binding:
Electronic book text in proprietary or open standard format
Language:
English
Pages:
412
Dimensions:
8 x 5 in 1 lb

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Travel » Europe » Italy
Travel » Travel Writing » General
Travel » Travel Writing » Italy

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