OVERRIDE

Seeking Sicily

A Cultural Journey Through Myth and Reality in the Heart of the Mediterranean

Keahey, John

Thomas Dunne Books

“Keahey’s exploration of this misunderstood island offers a much-needed look at a much-maligned land.”—Paul Paolicelli, author of Under the Southern Sun

Sicily is the Mediterranean’s largest and most mysterious island. Its people, for three thousand years under the thumb of one invader after another, hold tightly onto a culture so unique that they remain emotionally and culturally distinct, viewing themselves first as Sicilians, not Italians. Many of these islanders, carrying considerable DNA from Arab and Muslim ancestors who ruled for 250 years and integrated vast numbers of settlers from the continent just ninety miles to the south, say proudly that Sicily is located north of Africa, not south of Italy.

Seeking Sicily explores what lies behind the soul of the island’s inhabitants. It touches on history, archaeology, food, the Mafia, and politics and looks to nineteenth- and twentieth-century Sicilian authors to plumb the islanders’ so-called Sicilitudine. This “culture apart” is best exemplified by the writings of one of Sicily’s greatest writers, Leonardo Sciascia. Seeking Sicily also looks to contemporary Sicilians who have never shaken off the influences of their forbearers, who believed in the ancient gods and goddesses.

Author John Keahey is not content to let images from the island’s overly touristed villages carry the story. Starting in Palermo, he journeyed to such places as Arab-founded Scopello on the west coast, the Greek ruins of Selinunte on the southwest, and Sciascia’s ancestral village of Racalmuto in the south, where he experienced unique, local festivals. He spent Easter Week in Enna at the island’s center, witnessing surreal processions that date back to Spanish rule. And he learned about Sicilian cuisine in Spanish Baroque Noto and Greek Siracusa in the southeast, and met elderly, retired fishermen in the tiny east-coast fishing village of Aci Trezza, home of the mythical Cyclops and immortalized by Luchino Visconti’s mid-1940s film masterpiece, La terra trema. He walked near the summit of Etna, Europe’s largest and most active volcano, studied the mountain’s role in creating this island, and looked out over the expanse of the Ionian Sea, marveling at the three millennia of myths and history that forged Sicily into what it is today.

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ONE
 
“A Leopard in Very Bad Trim”


Don Fabrizio could not know it then, but a great deal of the slackness and acquiescence for which the people of the South were to be criticized during the next decades was due to the stupid annulment of the first expression of liberty ever offered them.

—Giuseppe di Lampedusa, The Leopard (1960)


“IN SICILY, ‘no’ often becomes ‘yes’!”
So proclaims Claudio Cutrona as we scramble down scaffolding erected against a nondescript building just a few blocks from the port of
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REVIEWS

Praise for Seeking Sicily

“Keahey meticulously observes the history, colorful customs and culture of Sicilians with boundless curiosity… Keahey marvels at variations in Sicilian cuisine with mouthwatering descriptions flooding the pages of this lush travelogue.”--KIRKUS

“Keahey’s journey is a rich guide to the culture and history of Sicily.”--PUBLISHERS WEEKLY

"Keahey can shift swiftly from, say, a hard-nosed investigation into the origins of the Mafia to a mouth-watering chapter on Sicilian cooking…He peppers the trip with tidbits from some of the best literature about Sicily and balances his joyful participation in island rituals and festivals with serious analysis.”--BOOKLIST

“Keahey meticulously observes the history, colorful customs and culture of Sicilians with boundless curiosity… Keahey marvels at variations in Sicilian cuisine with mouthwatering descriptions flooding the pages of this lush travelogue.”--KIRKUS

“Keahey’s journey is a rich guide to the culture and history of Sicily.”--PUBLISHERS WEEKLY

"Keahey can shift swiftly from, say, a hard-nosed investigation into the origins of the Mafia to a mouth-watering chapter on Sicilian cooking…He peppers the trip with tidbits from some of the best literature about Sicily and balances his joyful participation in island rituals and festivals with serious analysis.”--BOOKLIST

In the Press

SEEKING SICILY by John KeaheyKirkus Book Reviews
Read the Kirkus Review of SEEKING SICILY A Cultural Journey Through Myth and Reality in the Heart of the Mediterranean. Veteran newspaperman Keahey continues his exploration of Italian civilization with an appreciation of the rich, vibrant surroundings of Italy's largest autonomous island.
- Kirkus Reviews

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

  • Keahey, John

  • JOHN KEAHEY is a veteran newspaper journalist who, since 1989, has been a reporter and news editor for The Salt Lake Tribune. He has a history degree from the University of Utah and spends as much time as possible in Italy.

  • John Keahey
    John Keahey

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Available Formats and Book Details

Seeking Sicily

A Cultural Journey Through Myth and Reality in the Heart of the Mediterranean

Keahey, John

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FROM THE PUBLISHER

Thomas Dunne Books

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