Italian Crime Fiction in the Era of the Anti-Mafia Movement

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About the Book

Over the last three decades, Italian crime fiction has demonstrated a trend toward a much higher level of realism and complexity. The origins of the New Italian Epic, as it has been coined by some of its proponents, can be found in the widespread backlash against the Mafia–sponsored murders of Sicilian magistrates which culminated with the assassinations of Judges Giovanni Falcone and Paolo Borsellino in 1992. Though beginning in the Italian language, this prolific, popular movement has more recently found its way into the English language and hence it has found a much wider international audience. Following a brief, yet detailed, history of the cultural and economic development of Sicily, this book provides a multilayered look into the evolution of the New Italian Epic genre. The works of ten prominent contemporary writers, including Andrea Camilleri, Michael Dibdin, Elena Ferrante, and Massimo Carlotto, are examined against the backdrop of various historical periods. This “past is prologue” approach to contemporary crime fiction provides context for the creation of these recent novels and enhances understanding of the complex moral ambiguity that is characteristic of anti-mafia Italian crime fiction.

About the Author(s)

William Farina is a retired real estate consultant for the federal government, now living in Evanston, Illinois. He has written books on Arthurian legend, early Christianity, the American Civil War, Shakespeare and baseball.

Bibliographic Details

William Farina

Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Pages: 234
Bibliographic Info: notes, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2020
pISBN: 978-1-4766-7735-4
eISBN: 978-1-4766-3968-0
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments vi
Introduction 1
1: Ancient Origins 13
2: Roberto Saviano (b. 1979) 22
3: Norman-Arab Feudal Code 31
4: Wu Ming (b. 1970?) 41
5: Spanish Black Legend 50
6: Gianrico Carofiglio (b. 1961) 58
7: Risorgimento Roots 66
8: Maurizio de Giovanni (b. 1958) 74
9: Little Hell 83
10: Massimo Carlotto (b. 1956) 91
11: Saint Valentine’s Day Massacre 99
12: Giancarlo de Cataldo (b. 1956) 107
13: Unlikely Allies 116
14: Elena Ferrante (b. 1953?) 124
15: Cosa Nostra Resurgence 132
16: Michele Giuttari (b. 1950) 141
17: Falcone and Borsellino 149
18: Michael Dibdin (1947–2007) 157
19: Sicilian Backlash 166
20: Andrea Camilleri (1925–2019) 173
Summary 183
Chapter Notes 189
Selected Reading (English Language) 217
Index 221

Book Reviews & Awards

“[Farina] describe[s] [these authors’] work accurately and in a way that will attract new readers to their books. …an excellent reference”—Mystery Scene