the brotherhood of the grape by John Fante

Sweet Sunday: Good reads for a freezing cold day

The Abruzzo snow keeps us housebound; the perfect opportunity to read a book while the snow settles outside…

Here are some suggestions about books we like and which are somehow connected with Abruzzo.

“THE BROTHERHOOD OF THE GRAPE” by John Fante

the brotherhood of the grape by John Fante

Henry Molise, a 50 year old, successful writer, returns to the family home to help with the latest drama; his aging parents want to divorce. Henry’s tyrannical, brick laying father, Nick, though weak and alcoholic, can still strike fear into the hearts of his sons. His mother, though ill and devout to her Catholicism, still has the power to comfort and confuse her children.

The novel is brimming with love, violence, death, religion and also plenty of humour because the author’s prose is honest, evocative and intimate.

Note: John Fante is well known in Abruzzo because he was born from a family of Italian immigrants. His father Nick Fante, originally from Torricella Peligna, was a stone mason; his mother Maria Capolungo was born in Chicago also from Italian parents.

“ALCYONE” by Gabriele d’Annunzio

"Alcyone" by Gabriele d'Annunzio

Gabriele d’Annunzio is one of the most important Italian poets of the 20th century. He was born in Pescara, on March 12, 1863. He was a poet, a novelist, a journalist and a intellectual who influenced Italian history during the first half of twentieth century.

Halcyon (Alcyone)  is the title of a collection of 88 poems and it’s known for its classical references, sensuality and vivid eroticism. The best known poems are perhaps La pioggia nel pineto (Rain in the Pinewood) and La sera fiesolana (Evening in Fiesole).

To let you better understand the beauty of his poetry, here’s a piece of  “Rain in the Pinewood“. In this poem, D’Annunzio imagines to walk with his wife, Hermione, and invites her to listen to the melody of nature as the summer raindrops fall on the foliage in the wood:

“[…] On the edges of the woods            
I can’t hear human words
That you say,
But I hear newer words
Spoken by droplets
And leaves far away. 
Listen…
Rain falls from the 
Scattered clouds […]

 

“FOOD AND MEMORIES OF ABRUZZO: ITALY’S PASTORAL LANDS” by Anna Teresa Callen

Food and Memories of Abruzzo: Italy's Pastoral Land

The distinctive cuisine of Abruzzo, passed down through generations, is unveiled in this landmark cookbook. The author, Anna Teresa Callen, grew up in Abruzzo and well understands its regional specialties.

The book features more than 350 recipes such as Cardoon Soup from Anna Teresa’s grandmother, the savory pie Fiadone Villese traditionally served at Easter, and the dessert La Cicerchiata, traditionally prepared for Carnevale. Callen’s experience as a cooking teacher means the recipes are expertly written to ensure the best results every time.

Framing the tempting recipes are the author’s recollections of her rural girlhood, fishing with her father in the Adriatic, hunting for mushrooms in the forests, and rolling out pasta by hand with her mother, immersing you in the patterns of daily life in Abruzzo.

Buona Lettura!
Have a Good Read!

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