Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The Wine-Dark Sea” as Want to Read:
The Wine-Dark Sea
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

The Wine-Dark Sea

3.92  ·  Rating Details ·  414 Ratings  ·  41 Reviews
Leonardo Sciascia was an outstanding and controversial presence in twentieth-century Italian literary and intellectual life. Writing about his native Sicily and its culture of secrecy and suspicion, Sciascia matched sympathy with skepticism, unflinching intelligence with a streetfighter's intransigent poise. Sciascia was particularly admired for his short stories, and The ...more
Paperback, 224 pages
Published October 31st 2000 by NYRB Classics (first published 1973)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about The Wine-Dark Sea, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about The Wine-Dark Sea

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  Rating Details
Aug 03, 2016 Ted rated it it was amazing
Giufa has been living in Sicily since Arabian times. In the script of that period his name appeared as a small, crested bird, its tail stuck straight up in the air and a grape in its beak. A thousand years later, Giufa still shambles along the roads, ageless like all simpletons and up to all kinds of mischief.

4 1/2 rounded up because of my typical disinterest in short stories. I found these easy and pleasurable to get through.

the author

Leonardo Sciascia (1921-1989) was a writer of novels, essays
Oct 03, 2012 William1 rated it liked it
The first half of this book of stories I found flat and not up to Sciascia's usual rich level of storytelling. But then halfway through, starting with the tale "Demotion," I felt the stories begin to deepen. By the time I got to "End Game," p. 121, I was without question back in the master's hands. This seems to me an anomaly in Sciascia's otherwise unusually consistent oeuvre. I'd like to know if the translation is at fault. I don't have a word of Italian, but a couple examples of English phras ...more
Feb 19, 2013 Sandra rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Il mare colore del vino” è lo splendido mare della Sicilia, che al tramonto si tinge di colori dorati grazie ai raggi del sole che vi si riflettono: è un mare che “non ubriaca: si impadronisce dei pensieri, suscita antica saggezza”, quella saggezza che la terra di Sicilia sembra aver assorbito dai tanti popoli che l’hanno calpestata e ne hanno solcato i mari, e che si trasmette quasi passasse nel DNA dei suoi abitanti, come il piccolo e sveglio Nenè del racconto che dà il titolo al libro. Alcuni ...more
May 10, 2014 Dewey rated it it was amazing
As underrated as his country’s entire 20th century literary tradition, Leonardo Sciascia is one of those excellent short story writers who should be known everywhere. He writes the kind of short stories that are simple but qualitative like those of Stanisław Lem, and are described in the introduction as a modern derivation of the folk tale style of Sciascia’s native Sicily. As I went to pay for my copy of The Wine-Dark Sea in a bookshop in Turin, the guy at the register nodded most approvingly a ...more
Nov 04, 2011 Noelle rated it really liked it
The Wine Dark Sea is a collection of Leonardo Sciasia’s best short stories. Sciasia, a Sicilian author who lived from 1921 to 1989, has a writing style that is much more accessible than that of many of his contemporaries such as Umberto Eco or Dino Buzzati. The bulk of these stories were written in the 1960s, and each eloquently speaks to an aspect of the Sicilian way of life and history, such as distrust for outsiders, the Mafia culture, Catholicism, Communism, and the desperation of poverty. S ...more
Stephen Durrant
Oct 21, 2014 Stephen Durrant rated it really liked it
Reading the late Sicilian writer Antonio Sciascia while traveling in Sicily recently was a good decision. So much that he writes about seems to have real currency, at least to this fairly superficial traveler with far too little Italian. The striking landscape (and wine-dark sea, at least as seen from Taormina) has not changed, nor has the corrupting power of the mafia, which just extracts and doesn't develop, or the almost imploring look of residents there who want to know if you are impressed ...more
Jan 10, 2009 Ann rated it really liked it
The Sicilian language has no future tense. Nostalgia for La Cosa Nostra is not strictly an American phenomenon. Aleister Crowley lived in Sicily for a while before WWII, and Mussolini had him deported. Or that one Sciascia might have just made up. There was one story in there that reminded me a lot of Lucio Fulci's "Don't Torture a Duckling."

Martin Roberts
Jan 18, 2015 Martin Roberts rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Jul 25, 2016 JacquiWine rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The thirteen pieces in this excellent collection of Leonardo Sciascia’s short stories, The Wine-Dark Sea, were written between 1959 and 1972. Collectively, the author considered these stories – which are arranged in chronological order – as a kind of summary of his work up until that point in time. As such, the pieces are somewhat diverse in nature, and yet there is something inherently Sicilian in each and every one, a reflection of a certain aspect of the island’s soul and character. As with o ...more
May 11, 2016 John rated it liked it
Leonardo Sciascia’s novels and full-length non-fictions are such models of concision, pinpoint detail and lithe plotting that I was anxious to see what he could do within the short story form . . . and somewhat disappointed to find that it wasn’t much, or as much as I would've liked. With a few exceptions, the thirteen stories comprised in The Wine Dark Sea never really rise above the level of accomplished pastiche: the early stories bear the influence of the French and Russian masters (Gogol in ...more
Guillermo Macbeth
Muy buenos relatos cortos. Se trata de un compendio de publicaciones previas y dispersas. El compendio tiene circularidad formal, de estilo, condición que el autor comenta en una nota de cierre del libro. Aparecen los temas recurrentes de Sciascia, que funcionan como tautologías de la injusticia, como variantes de un mismo núcleo tan fatal como inaceptable: el catolicismo, el comunismo, el crimen, la mafia, los paisajes mediterráneos y, uniéndolo todo, la condición siciliana. Ser siciliano era p ...more
J.C. Heinbockel
Feb 22, 2017 J.C. Heinbockel rated it liked it
Uneven, but fascinating. Some stories wonderful and heartbreaking, others very curious.
Sep 01, 2014 Peter rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: reviews
A suitable subtitle would be Thirteen disappointing tales of Sicily. Part of the disappointment lies in the stilted and ungainly English. It is traditional to blame the translator for this, but maybe she was being faithful to the original. If so, she has not done Sciascia any favours. It is difficult to pick an example, since the effect is cumulative, but a line of dialogue like “Either you refuse to answer, or I am being given to understand that you have no special feelings regarding your wife. ...more
Nov 21, 2016 Roger rated it really liked it
Shelves: literature, europe
In an author's note at the end of this collection, Sciascia writes "These short stories were written - together with a few more that seemed to me not worth collecting and reissuing - between 1959 and 1972." He goes on to write that this collection came about owing to requests from his readers, who wished to have the stories collected into one volume.

And what a great little volume it is - stories that give us the flavour of Sicily in bite-sized pieces. Some of these stories are a moment in time e
Apr 15, 2009 Gabriel rated it really liked it
Sciascia's texts waver in the full light of day-- are they really fiction at all? are they true, except for this point, or that one? Cause for celebration, it seems to me.

His prose is a perfect match for this sense of the perhaps-true: a Gordian knot with sword provided, it is easy to speed through, but rushed at the expense of meaning. Relationships are revealed between the lines, but also in lines waiting to be reread in the light of some further information (which Sciascia may or may not pro
Nov 22, 2015 Alt_m______ rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: italiana, racconti
Sciascia le spiega così: “… perché pubblico questi racconti? Ecco: perché mi pare di aver messo assieme una specie di sommario della mia attività fino ad ora […]; e che tra il primo e l’ultimo di questi racconti si stabilisce come una circolarità: una circolarità che non è quella del cane che si morde la coda”.

Tra il primo e l’ultimo dei tredici racconti che compongono la raccolta, entrambi di carattere storico, si collocano testi che toccano i temi più vari: dal folklore di origine arabo-sicul
Tyler Jones
Apr 15, 2012 Tyler Jones rated it really liked it
It would be easy to mistake Sciscia as a cynic. In many of his novels the innocent of heart and mind are dealt with rather brutally by the corrupt forces that run things, but read a little deeper and you'll find a warm, loving heart beating below the surface of the cynicism. I find, in this collection of short works, a truer picture of what Sciscia was all about than the brutality of his novels would suggest. The title story of this collection, for example, is one of the most graceful pieces of ...more
Emily Cleaver
Jan 20, 2014 Emily Cleaver rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The best story in this collection, and one I would now add to my top 20 favourite short stories, is A Matter of Conscience – a lawyer travelling on a train picks up a woman’s magazine and reads the problem page, where he sees a letter from a woman in his own town admitting to having an affair. The letter sends the men of the town into a frenzy of gossip and suspicion as they try to guess whose wife wrote the letter. The story is funny, but the ending is strange, unsettling and heart-wrenching.

Jul 01, 2016 Julián rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Trece relatos cortos que el autor había ido publicando en diversos medios y recopiló aquí después de ponerlos un poco al día. Se leen con verdadero placer y su temática es variada, aunque todos ellos están ambientados en Sicilia. Hay un poco de todo, desde enredos criminales e infelidades hasta rivalidades entre pueblos vecinos, un viaje en tren en compañía de familia ruidosa y charlatana (el que da título al volumen), subdesarrollo y emigración, una historia de origen árabe (con el famoso Yuha, ...more
Sep 09, 2007 Eugene rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Really enjoying this collection of short stories by Sicilian writer Sciascia. This was given to me as a present about four years ago by a friend, but I only picked it up over the summer. To every book there is a season. Or something.

Anyway, have been picking it up at regular intervals on the commute into work and am always glad I have. Apparently a graduate of the Italian Realist school - no, I know nothing about this either - the stories conjure up Sicily, the South, rich with character. Prope
Procyon Lotor
Mediamente buoni, qualcuno da fuoriscala. Solita classe, molto scialo: oggi con idee ben inferiori tirerebbero fuori da ognuna un romanzo, lui ne fa raccontini acuminati o balsamici. 1) Reversibilit�. 2) Il lungo viaggio. 3) Il mare colore del vino. 4) L'esame. 5) Giuf�. 6) La rimozione. 7) Filologia. 8) Gioco di societ�. 9) Un caso di coscienza. 10) Apocrifi sul caso Crowley. 11) Western di cose nostre. 12) Processo per violenza. 13) Eufrosina. Colonna sonora: vari rumori aeronautici.
Lindsey Vereen
Nov 08, 2013 Lindsey Vereen rated it it was amazing
These vivid and slyly humorous short stories are set in Sicily over the past 150 years. They examine Sicilian culture and point out the peccadilloes of the Sicilian people. The stories are about murder, infidelity, and human failings. The Mafia figures in many of them though not in the way we ordinarily encounter the Mafia in literature. These are not stories about gangsters, but about people living in poor communities in which the Mafia, along with the Church and the government are part of the ...more
May 09, 2008 Christine rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: those itching to travel to Sicily, ma c'impossible...
It went by too quickly. And although the main impression of his short stories are that they're just far too short, I loved the glimpses into Sicily. The title story, "The Wine Dark Sea" about a train voyage was especially charming... the characters felt all too familiar and very real.
I hope to read this again sometime.
Juan Escobar
Oct 07, 2015 Juan Escobar rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Cuentos de la cultura, el ambiente y la mitología de Sicilia, Italia. Desde lo mafioso hasta lo amoroso. Son relatos escritos desde adentro, de un corazón peninsular. SCIACIA logra que leas alegremente algo que es horrible o aburrido.

Dan ganas de ir en un tren viendo il mare colore del vino
I loved Sicilian Uncles and Day Of The Owl and in this collection of short stories there are those which match them for class and artistry (including the magnificent title story) but there are a few lesser pieces too so it's a four not a five but still mostly glorious.
Jul 30, 2011 Susan added it
I tell students that I really like stories that have a surprising twist at the end. And these surely do! Set in Sicily, these short stories were perfect reading during my travels in Sicily, offering lots of surprises! Sophisticated and down to earth at the same time.
Dec 09, 2015 Jalawa rated it really liked it
The Wine-Dark Sea, was an entertaining glance into the Sicilian lifestyle. I enjoyed the, End-Game better than the title story. The woman, outsmarting the husband, was quite comical. This was an introduction to Sciascia's writing, and I must say that it was a good one.
Mar 23, 2013 Mikee rated it really liked it
A collection of nearly-perfect short stories. Very Italian. Very Sicilian. Not one unnecessary word. A few of the latter ones were a bit too weird (or I was a bit too tired), but on the whole very well-balanced and excellent.
Oct 31, 2015 Kharen rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Solo recuerdo el primer cuento del libro.

Bonito, caminado te va contando tristezas y aventuras teñidas por ese rumor del mar. Es la sensación del ser inmigrante, la pobreza llamando mas pobreza.
Rafet Baran
Jun 13, 2013 Rafet Baran rated it really liked it
öykülerdeki tekniğin etkileyiciliğinin yanında italya'ya bi daha gitme isteğim canlandı.
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
NYRB Classics: The Wine-Dark Sea, by Leonardo Sciascia 1 8 Oct 30, 2013 10:38PM  
  • Amsterdam Stories
  • That Awful Mess on the Via Merulana
  • The Stories of J.F. Powers
  • Adventures of Sindbad
  • My Fantoms
  • Little Novels of Sicily
  • The Unrest-Cure and Other Stories
  • The Professor and the Siren
  • A Schoolboy's Diary and Other Stories
  • Una questione privata
  • Peasants and Other Stories
  • Memoirs of Hecate County
  • Soul of Wood
  • The New York Stories of Edith Wharton
  • Kaputt
  • Conversations in Sicily
  • Boredom
  • Gli occhiali d'oro: Il romanzo di Ferrara
Leonardo Sciascia (1921-1989) wrote of his unique Sicilian experience, linking families with political parties, the treachery of alliances and allegiances and the calling of favours that resort in outcomes that are not for the benefit of society, but of those individuals who are in favour.
Sciascia perhaps, in the end, wanted to prove that the corruption that was and is endemic in Italian society
More about Leonardo Sciascia...

Share This Book

“…And the sound of the sea, like the wild-animal breath of the world itself, frightened them as it gasped and died at their feet.” 1 likes
More quotes…