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Il mare colore del vino

3.91  ·  Rating details ·  652 ratings  ·  70 reviews
Così Sciascia volle presentare questo bellissimo libro di racconti, scritti fra il 1959 e il 1972: ... mi pare di aver messo assieme una specie di sommario della mia attività fino ad ora e da cui vien fuori (e non posso nascondere che ne sono in un certo modo soddisfatto, dentro la mia più generale e continua insoddisfazione) che in questi anni ho continuato per la mia ...more
Paperback, 152 pages
Published December 5th 2012 by Adelphi (first published April 21st 1973)
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Aug 03, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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,
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 ...more
Steven Godin
Mar 06, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: italy, short-stories
Better well known in his native Sicily than overseas, Leonardo Sciascia is finally now reaching a broader audience with his short stories on Sicilian life. For the outsider, or anyone who has zero knowledge of his work it's almost like entering a hidden world in the way he opens up on his homeland, and whilst for the most part he deals with real life situations which at times do become quite dark, there is something of a mythical folk-tale feeling to some of his other stories included, which ...more
Oh, I could easily give this five stars. I'd say it's the most readily accessible of his books that I've read thus far. Short stories, no real room to get Off Topic, these are tight and 'enjoyable', a word that doesn't seem suitable for his books in general.

If you are thinking of trying this celebrated Italian author, this really does make sense as the way to start. Dip your toes....into the water of The Wine-Dark Sea.
As underrated as his countrys 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 Sciascias 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 at ...more
Nov 04, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The Wine Dark Sea is a collection of Leonardo Sciasias 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. ...more
Stephen Durrant
Oct 21, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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."

Sep 03, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Like most short story collections, a little patchy but where the tales soar, they do so stratospherically. The result is a many faceted study of Sicilian attitudes and society with those familiar traits of omertà, loyalty and family always present. The best stories include a voyage to Trenton, New Jersey that could have seen its participants end up rubbing shoulders with a future Uncle Junior and Paulie Walnuts had things not taken a different, somewhat predictable turn and an exchange of ...more
Sep 14, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is such an interesting collection of short stories, and my first introduction to the Sicilian author, Leonardo Sciascia. The stories are distinctly different in plot, yet there were common threads throughout. They abound with passions, violence, revenge, betrayal, and family love and loyalty. I felt as though I was peeking into a culture which is at once a bit intimidating and deeply intriguing. Clearly, Sciascia is an erudite, articulate writer which brings a richness and depth to his ...more
T.E. Wilson
Feb 19, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
These stories have a writing style that is more sparse than in Sciascia's novels. Many of the stories are structured as fables, and as such suggest a kind of moral message, though the lessons are far from clear. Despite the tight prose and proverbial structure, each tale is quite different, likely as they were written at different stages of Sciascia's long career. This is thoughtful, clear minded writing with heart, and well worth your time.
Tuğrulcan Elmas
Feb 01, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Contains many stories and themes that shed light on Sicilian culture. Learnt of some iconic people like Guifa, Vincenzo Verzeni, Marcantonio Colonna and Eufrosina, the mysterious letter sent to priest Lucchesini, Aleister Crowley and the commissaire who sends his fascist regards to Mussolini while talking about him.
Ryan Miller
Dec 30, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I devoured these short stories! This is a collection of 13 stories that have been translated from Italian. I often find that short story translations can be choppy to read, but these ones were pretty good. Leonardos writing is full of subtle humor, Sicilian roots, and folk-style storytelling.

Thanks for the free copy, Capsule Books!
Jul 08, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I haven't read many short story tellers. I found Sciascia writing fascinating. The stories were very simple, in terms of events that occur in every day life, but told with amazing insight or depth that I was not expecting.
Michael Toy
Nov 04, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A fun romp through Sicilian social realist lit. The stories made me chuckle and the language is quite beautiful.
Aveugle Vogel
"washing a donkey's face"
Jul 07, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Much the same as my reviews of his other books. Compelling short stories that whilst "naif" on first read trigger some very conflicted reactions and conclusions.
Jul 25, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The thirteen pieces in this excellent collection of Leonardo Sciascias 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 islands soul and character. As with other ...more
May 11, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Leonardo Sciascias 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 wasnt 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
Beautifully written book filled with irony, mythology and the strange hypocrisy of the Sicilian character.
J.C. Heinbockel
Uneven, but fascinating. Some stories wonderful and heartbreaking, others very curious.
Nov 21, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
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
Apr 15, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Emily Cleaver
Jan 20, 2014 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 womans 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.

Tyler Jones
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
Sep 09, 2007 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.
Lindsey Vereen
Nov 08, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
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.
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NYRB Classics: The Wine-Dark Sea, by Leonardo Sciascia 1 10 Oct 30, 2013 10:38PM  

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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

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