The House at the Edge of Night by Catherine Banner
|The House at the Edge of Night by Catherine Banner
|Category: General Fiction
|Reviewer: Louise Jones
|Summary: Follow the Esposito family as they come to terms with love, loss and reconciliation in this epic family saga set on a Sicilian island.
|Date: May 2016
|External links: Author's website
The House at the Edge of Night is an epic family saga, spanning some 95 years and several generations. The story begins when Amedeo Esposito arrives at the isolated Sicilian island of Castellamare to serve as the first doctor in the island's history. He is immediately captivated by this strange little community; a heady mix of tradition, superstition and ritual. An island so small is naturally a hotbed of gossip, with 'overheard' confessions being dutifully relayed across the five-mile island within minutes of being heard. The benevolent Saint Agata watches over her people and bestows the odd miracle upon the fortunate. This is the place that Amedeo chooses to make his home and together with his resourceful wife Pina, they slowly restore the 'cursed' House at the Edge of Night to its former glory as a bar and meeting place for the locals.
The Italian island setting is mesmerising, as the author is keen to exploit our senses in every way possible. We can smell the fragrant bougainvillea, taste the sweet limoncello and hear the waves gently lapping against the sea caves. The story is character-driven and it is easy to warm to the Esposito family, especially Amedeo's spirited and independent daughter Maria Grazia, whose story becomes the beating heart of the novel. The island's inhabitants are a colourful bunch and although they are old-fashioned and set in their ways, they feel like old friends by the end of the book.
Although the island seems isolated and set apart from the rest of the world, it is not immune to events on the larger world-scene. The island sees the rise and fall of Fascism; extreme poverty caused by war; prosperity and recession and the eras of the motor car, radio, television and internet. Each development serves to anchor the reader by reminding them of the passage of time and the fact that our beloved characters are ageing too. We are forced to reassess our mental image of Maria Grazia as she progresses from tiny infant to elderly matriarch and her beautiful lustrous black hair slowly fades to grey.
I loved everything about this book and didn't want the story to end. The story weaves a spell over the reader and just like Amadeo and his family, I didn't want to leave the island either. Many thanks to the publishers for this spellbinding and absorbing book.
Want to soak up more of that Italian atmosphere? Try The Last Supper: A Summer in Italy by Rachel Cusk.
You can read more book reviews or buy The House at the Edge of Night by Catherine Banner at Amazon.co.uk Amazon currently charges £2.99 for standard delivery for orders under £20, over which delivery is free.
You can read more book reviews or buy The House at the Edge of Night by Catherine Banner at Amazon.com.
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