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Saturday, 5 January 2013

When in Rome.....

"Even today, after two years of Roman vacations, I get lost in the center of the city as soon as I leave the perpendicular line of the Corso.  For someone accustomed to the perfect symmetry of Manhattan, the twisting streets of the Italian capital seem a labyrinth of squares and narrow alleys, all the same: a fountain, a column, a flaking wall, a café, a market stall, a wild dog, a motorcycle, a beggar, a group of American or Japanese tourists, another fountain" (extract from Roman Holidays, a Rome Noir short story, by Enrico Franceschini).

Recognise Rome from this short description? The lovely indecipherable impenetrable city with a history going back two and a half thousand years; and this is just one of many descriptions that pepper the book of short stories "Rome Noir" edited by Chiara Stangalino and Maxim Jakubowski. A cocktail of 16 stories set around the capital from Stazione Termini to the Via Appia Antica, Fiumicino to the Villa Borghese. Some stories are like gossamer veils enveloping and captivating, some are downright dark, and others culminate in murderous intent. Others are visceral in their storyline, some are seamy, but there is something for everyone. Tour the city through this collection and get to know areas off the beaten tourist track and experience the stories through the eyes of its citizens.

Off for a Chinotto*. Cheers

Want a couple more books novels to transport you to Rome? Then we suggest these two little gems:

Saving Rome by Megan Williams: Amid the bustle of Rome, the Vespas and the Fiats, the cigarettes and teetering high heals, Megan K Williams, a Rome-based writer and correspondent, captures the essence of this bustling city. This is an insider's eye on the love, mystery and unholy chaos of Rome. In nine funny and insightful stories, Williams delves into the lives of women searching for meaning (and survival) in an ancient metropolis.

It's 2005. The Italian secret service has received news that a group of Muslim immigrants based in the Viale Marconi neighbourhood of Rome is planning a terrorist attack. Christian Mazzari, a young Sicilian who speaks perfect Arabic, goes undercover to infiltrate the group and to learn who its leaders are. Breathtaking set pieces, episodes rich in pathos, brilliant dialogue and mordant folk proverbs combine as the novel moves towards an unforgettable and surprising finale that will have readers turning back to the first page to begin the ride all over again.

* Chinotto [kiˈnɔtto] is a type of carbonated soft drink produced from the juice of the fruit of the myrtle-leaved orange tree (Citrus myrtifolia).

We have a selection of novels for review on the TripFiction site. Click on the logo above to see our current offers and let us know which one you would like to review! And of course, if you have a particular recommendation for a book to read in Rome, then let all our readers know in the Comments Box below.

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