Monday, September 3, 2012

Trinacria - by Anthony Di Renzo

American-born Anthony Di Renzo has written a novel that casts a sober glance toward the unification of Italy circa 1860. Like Giuseppe Tomasi di Lampedusa's novel, The Leopard, published a half-century ago, Trinacria - A Tale of Bourbon Sicily paints the Risorgimento - Italy's bloody unification movement - in its true colors.

Trinacria is not "ethnic" or nationalist niche literature. It's an overdue reality check.

We've seen an advance (digital) copy of the book. Essentially, the story is told as a series of memories by a noblewoman present in Sicily in 1860.

(This isn't as esoteric as it may seem; Best of Sicily's publisher vividly remembers his own grandmother, who was related to the aristocratic Lanza di Trabia family, "setting the record straight" about the unification movement - a familial memory transmitted to the lady, born in 1904, by her father and grandfather. The result was a Sicilian identity rooted in fact rather than fantasy.)

Unfortunately, most of our Italo-American friends have swallowed the revisionist version of Italian unification history hook, line and sinker. Here in Italy, however, last year's celebrations marking 150 years of Italian unification were met with cynicism by northern ("Padanian") and southern Italians alike. Few challenged the idea of a united Italy in some form as a matter of principle, but a spate of books and conferences brought attention to the bloodbath and pillage that accompanied the unification in 1860.

In America, the only "Italian-American" organization intellectual and courageous enough to present this information accurately was the Italian Cultural Foundation at Casa Belvedere (New York), which sponsored a conference with Pino Aprile, author of Terroni (now available in English) and is supporting publication of Trinacria.

Publishing is always a financial challenge, and a fund drive is under way to bring Trinacria to print in November. To make a contribution, follow this link, where you can also read about the novel and its author.

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