GraceAnne's Reviews > The Wager

The Wager by Donna Jo Napoli
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's review
Jun 25, 2010

it was amazing
Read in June, 2010

Napoli takes the story of Bearskin, sets it in Sicily, and proceeds in her mesmerizing fashion to talk about the glories of sea, sky, and forest, art and the art of food, at the same time as delineating just what happens to a body that is not washed or clothes that are not changed for three years, three months, and three days.
Don Giovanni is a young, rich wastrel who loses everything. The devil promises him a return to untold riches if he does not wash or groom himself or change his clothing for the aforesaid period of time. Napoli captures us at once and holds us inside the Don's mind, at first clever and self-involved, moving to compassion, despair, and in the end, redemption.
This may not reach a large audience, but it is a powerful telling, very Sicilian in its earthiness and sensuality.

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