Francesco Scannella's new home, the Sicilian village of Mussomeli, is light years away from cosmopolitan Palermo and the paparazzi glitz of 1960s Italy, let alone from the leafy London suburbs.
Having been uprooted from his Surrey home and transported to a harsh and alien environment, he quickly forgets that he ever spoke English and survives by the sharpness of his wit and the strength of his fists, adopting the merciless and machismo ways of his elders.
Sicilian Shadows is the true story of a young boy who is transported to a wild and desolate island where every day is a fight for survival.
In a landscape where gang violence is the norm and the Mafia rule in a backwater characterised by debilitating poverty and mediaeval mindset, the experience leaves its indelible mark.
Never before has anyone with the author's associations written with such honesty and openness about what it was like to grow up in the womb of the Mafia.
He opens wide a window on the true nature of Sicilians, explains how and why they turn to the Mafia and how desperate life was at the time, even in the world's sixth largest economy. It is a compellingly story, telling with brutal honesty and wry humour of tragic young love and of how a school friend became an assassin; Frank Sinatra makes an appearance, as does the father of the modern Mafia, Don Calo Vizzini.
Far more than merely a memoir, Sicilian Shadows is an enthralling story of the loss of innocence, an expose of crime and corruption, a homage to a homeland, a history lesson and a horror story all in one.
- Format: Hardback
- Pages: 368 pages
- Publisher: Medina Publishing Ltd
- Publication Date: 21/07/2014
- Category: Memoirs
- ISBN: 9781909339262
- Paperback / softback from £9.55