Conversations in Sicily

By Elio Vittorini


Driven by a sense of total disconnection, the narrator embarks on a journey from northern Italy to Sicily, the home he has not seen in some fifteen years. Through the conversations of the islanders and a reunion with his mother, he gradually begins to feel reconnected. But to what kind of world?

Year of Publication


* Superbly written ... Vittorini's unique prose laps against one in repetitious wavelets, alive to the rhythm and significance of language in a way more common to poetry than to prose. Praised in the past by writers like Ernest Hemingway and Italo Calvino, this new translation by Alane Mason restores a paint-fresh vividness to a classic novel, too-little known in the English speaking world. -- Wayne Burrows * Vittorini is one of the very best ... I care very much about his ability to bring rain with him when he comes, if the earth is dry and that is what you need. -- Ernest Hemmingway * It is very hard to give any adequate sense of [its] power, rendered in lucid, supple lines of almost Homeric simplicity whose cadences are faithfully captured in this excellent new translation Guardian * An extraordinary book ... For anyone interested in memory and place, the loss of the past and the attempt to recover it in words, this book will be rewarding ... giving the reader an experience that is vividly new, yet strangely familiar -- Kirsty Gunn

Author Biography

Elio Vittorini was born in Siracusa, Sicily in 1908. An acclaimed translator (Defoe, Faulkner, Lawrence, Steinbeck and Somerset Maugham) and broadcaster and activist all his life, it wasn't until 1941 that Conversations in Sicily first appeared. A highly outspoken critic of Mussolini and his fascist government,Vittorini was arrested and jailed in 1942. He died in 1966.