Thursday, February 26, 2015


THE FOUR CORNERS OF PALERMO by Sicilian crime reporter Giuseppe di Piazza is a book of four somewhat related novellas set in the 1980s. It is unintentionally hilarious. The main character is (ahem) a Sicilian crime reporter who is constantly bedding Italian models and other beauties, as, you understand, an antidote to the Mafia violence all around him.

Here are some of my favorite lines:

Describing a Savoy torte: “…a circular tablet of pure pleasure, drenched in a lava flow of chilled cocoa.”

“He liked the Uzi submachine gun, too: short as a celery stalk, light as a

celery stalk, but far more dangerous than a celery stalk.”

“We were swept along by a black inertia…”

“She looked straight into my eyes: my memory, my five senses were suddenly recalibrated. It was as if a cat abandoned by the side of a road built only for dogs had suddenly come straight toward me in search of protection.”

“I kissed her eyes, I caressed her delicate shoulder blades, her neck – a neck as long as her eyelashes, which only now I was able to see, with our bodies so close to each other….”

“She was the most beautiful woman I had ever had eight inches from my heart.”

I dunno. Maybe something was lost (or gained) in the translation. Serves me right, I guess, for buying a book based solely on the title. A year or so ago, I stood in Quattro Canti (Four Corners) in Palermo, my ancestral homeland, so how could I resist?

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