could someone please recommend a book?

09/15/2009 - 18:19

Hello,I have just finished a book called "The Dark heart of Italy" by Tobias Jones. I enjoyed the book, brang home the reality of Italy, as in made me question if I could really live there. I realise that I know very little about Italian culture, learned quite some from this book, yearning now to learn more. I would appreciate if anyone could recommend a book on Italian life. Also I would love to hear views of anyone who read the Dark heart of Italy.  Thank you Michael

Comment

Try 'Italian Neighbours' and 'An Italian Education' by Tim Parks  which are realistic but affectionateand often humorous insights into Italian life and culture. He is an English journalist married to an Italian and settled in the Veneto region.

 The Dark Heart of Italy is an excellent book - and fills in all the blanks about the anni piombo - whether its a good read for someone thinking of moving to Italy is another question!   IThe issues raised in the book dont affect 99.9% of Italians directly, nor will they you - but its best to be aware of how the country works.  It has changed alot since the 80's - what you think about Berlusconi doesnt affect your day to day life -unless you want to become involved in the political arguments at the barbers.  I agree Tim Parks is a more laymans version - more of what its like to actually live here - but he's in Verona, and thats very different to being south of Rome or indeed anywhere else.  Put the shoe on the other foot and think whether you would want to live in America if you had read 'Fast Food Nation' or in England if you had read 'The English' - after all - it's only a book.

I agree with Ram.  Bear in mind Tobias Jones lived in Parma, which is known as a left wing and highly politcised city with an active student population.  Living out in the country you'll barely get any of that.  When I lived in Northern Ireland people told me not to talk about politics (after which they ususally started talking politics).  This advice may apply to Italy too, at least at the early stage of a friendship with Italians.You won't get a complete picture of Italy by reading books, so just come and try it out.

"Dark Heart" is depressing but useful as background to Italian politics, but I agree doesn't really help you find out what it's like to live here.I go along with the Tim Parks recommendations - and also anything by Annie Hawes.  She has had a house in Liguria for many years and writes very well and non-patronisingly about living here.DON'T read "Under the Tuscan Sun" - or if you do, have the vomit bucket to hand (and even more so if you watch the movie)

Hi, While in Italy in June I was reading 'Dark Heart' and was travelling down to Florence for a few days. I too found it facinating and although a law abiding person decided that I would be  terified to do even the slightest thing wrong, even a trafic violation. However remember I was in the middle of reading it and was totally absorbed. I really thought it a wonderful read but it certainly would not put me off Italy in any way. I still go as often as possible. There is corruption in every country.Thanks for all the recommendations re other italian books.

Thank you folk, I am going to read "an italian education by Tim Parks", I appreciate the response. To also add, I have been to Rome in the past. In two and a half weeks myself and my partner are going to Lake Garda on a holiday, we have also arranged to travel to Venice,- for business reasons I am staying four days in Milan also, yet it will be combined as a holiday. Really looking forward to the trip.I have been learning the Italian language for over two months, I have my weekly lesson tonight, I dont no wheter Im rather  naturally linguistic, yet I am really grasping the language which is a huge plus. I am listening to Roma radio 3 as I write this response.I'm very new to this interface/forum, and finding my feet as I navigate around.thank you all,Michael 

 My parents came from a town called Carfizzi in Calabria.  I would like to take a tour of Calabria and maybe go to my parents home town.  Are there any tour guides that go to Calabria and tour the whole region.  If so, please let me know as  i am interested.

Hi TinDon't knoe if you are online now to see this in time but BBC4 has a tv programme Dark Heart of Italy - not seen it so don't know if it is any good (OH had just set it to record befor ei came onto the forum) 0 knowing BBC 4 it will be repeated several times in the next week. Chris

Only yesterday I was in a book store and selected the Dark Heart of Italy, but put it back because I thought it would be too negative on the country.  I agree with 'Beth', Beppe Severgnini has written a book called 'La Bella Figura - an insider's guide to the Italian mind' and this is a humourous but true observation of modern Italy.  One thing I like is that he is a self-confessed Anglophile but despite all he has written he has still chosen to live with his family in Italy - maybe that speaks volumes in itself.

Yes, Italian culture is very interesting. 'Italian Neighbours' is quite an interesting book. I read it not a long time ago because I needed to write a paper on the differences between Italian and American cultures. Also, when I was looking for some info about cultural differences, communication, and its' difficulties between people of different nationalities, I found one Great site with varying examples of papers on intercultural communication, and it was very interesting to read. I managed to finish my own writing and also understood the importance of such communication.