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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Sometimes the Soul waits - This book is worth the wait., April 26, 1999
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This review is from: Sometimes the Soul: Two Novellas of Sicily (Hardcover)
Sometimes the Soul is one of the most literary, mythological, and magical books I have ever read.
The two old Scilian tales are given a contemporary and yet, timeless treatment, spun expertly into a web of colorful characters surrounded by surprise, love, nature, and eternal truths. Written by a 'supreme' storyteller, author Gioia Timpanelli gives us a fresh look at some very worthy, old stories.
Sometimes the Soul is a triumph of the oral story tradition set onto the written page by Timpanelli's artful prose.
These are not just fairytales but reminders to us all of the value of a 'worthy' tale. There are lessons to be learned on these pages, and reminders of what we have lost in our too-fast contemporary lives...myth and soul.
I was enchanted by both stories as a result of Timpanelli's unique and powerful feminine voice carrying the reader into unfamiliar worlds, just as in the second novella, "Rusina, Not Quite in Love" sweeps young Rusina far from the comfort of her family to meet her special destiny.
At first, Rusina agrees to leave, simply so that she can fulfill her father's debts. As Rusina says with the wisdom of anyone accepting their fate..."do not judge my father too quickly...for what child does not inherit parents debts? Debts from character and disposition. Debts from unlived life, sickness, unremembered dreams, poor work, hungry stomachs, stingy imaginations, or little love. It is a rare and blessed child who comes into this world without debt. Besides, when duty and love are two sides of the same coin, then payment is not a burden." And so, off Rusina goes to live with the Beast, and in doing so, discovers who she really is, and what really matters in life and in love. Ah, there's the beauty of this new twist to the Beauty and the Beast tale.
This week, I shared Rusina's story with a group of Kosovo refugees now living in Vienna, only two short subways stops from my flat. English is their second language, so they welcomed reading the story, and it brought up their own recent, sudden, and violent move away from their own homes and all that is familiar to them. It was a gentle way to allow them to open up, share their personal stories with me and the others in the group; beginning the process of sorting out just what this change means to them, and the challenges and even, opportunities that such a change offers..if looked upon correctly.
18-year-old Manika from Pristina added at the end of Rusina's story, "Like Rusina, I've got to keep looking for the good in all of this, and not be bitter, not be filled with hate...hating is easy...it's forgiving that's hard...and loving...even people who kill my people."
This then is a worthy story just as A Knot of Tears is as well. This little volume is packed with the simple truth of life...all in 185 pages!
Sometimes the Soul is a masterful piece of literature written by one who is well-acquainted with life's mystery and magic. It is deep and moving.
I also write and produce the book reviews for Blue Danube Radio, an English radio station in Vienna. You can be sure this book will find its way onto my summer recommended reading list! It's a great find.
Good luck Ms. Timpanelli on a brilliant new career as a writer based on the most ancient of all art --the art of oral storytelling--which you are obviously, a master. Thank you for telling a wider audience your stories, and thank Norton Publishing for having the wisdom to recognize your talent.
Beverly A. Davis writer Salmgasse 1/7 A-1030 Vienna, Austria
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Adult fairy tales-beautiful, August 19, 1998
By A Customer
This review is from: Sometimes the Soul: Two Novellas of Sicily (Hardcover)
In Palermo, Italy at the turn of the century, Baronessa Costanza Patane has imprisoned herself inside the Green Palace in order to avoid contact with the world except for her perplexed housekeeper, who wonders if her employer is a lunatic. However, everything changes for the two women when a sailor with a parrot on his shoulder walks past the house. The parrot flies through a window and the sailor follows (through a door). The two visitors begin to tell stories to Costanza in an effort to break her "Knot of Tears" even as a shady gentleman makes efforts to trap the Baronessa in his clutches.

Rusina is ill-treated in her home by her father and her sisters. However, the worst thing they do to her is trade her to an unknown individual in exchange for writing off a large debt. At the beautiful estate of her father's former creditor, Rusina meets the ugliest man in the world, wealthy Sebastiano. Will "Rusina, Not Quite In Love" see the inner beauty of her beastly host?

These two novellas are extremely well-written adult versions of classic fairy tales. All the characters are intriguing and the plots are filled with depth, rarely seen in a transformation of a child's tale into an adult story. SOMETIMES THE SOUL consists of two great novellas. Anyone who enjoys a soulful adult rendering of childhood favorites will want to read Gioia Timpanelli's latest masterpiece.

Harriet Klausner 8/11/98
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This book reaches into your heart and captures you., November 17, 1999
By A Customer
This review is from: Sometimes the Soul: Two Novellas of Sicily (Hardcover)
It has been a long time since a story was able to reach inside and grab my heart, but Sometimes the Soul by Gioia Timpanelli did just that. I found myself in both novellas, in Costanza and Rusina... When is the last time you neglected to love someone deeper because you were focused on thier outer self? Have you ever felt isolated from the outside world and had one person change it all for you? Do you enjoy viewing "the unseen world", alive in "the world's details"? If you do, this book is for you. It's a special relationship, sentence by sentence, between you and the finely woven tale... ENJOY!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Two pretty tales, April 1, 2002
By 
Kelly (Fantasy Literature) (Columbia, MO United States) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)   
_Sometimes the Soul_ contains two novellas set in Sicily. One, "A Knot of Tears", is a story about storytelling; the other, "Rusina, Not Quite in Love", is a Beauty and the Beast tale.
In "A Knot of Tears", the lovely Costanza, recovering from a vaguely hinted betrayal, has shut herself away from the world for a while, and is just beignning to feel stifled by her self-imposed isolation. As two wealthy suitors plot and scheme as to how they can get her to come out of her house, Costanza finds something much deeper with a young sailor who tells her a serial fairy tale about a strong heroine, which turns out to parallel Costanza's own life in interesting ways. A well-written novella about the power of a good story and about coming out of depression.
In "Rusina, Not Quite in Love", Rusina becomes companion to an eccentric elderly couple, and befriends their ugly and reclusive nephew, Sebastian. From her new family, Rusina learns about the beauty to be found in nature and art, and yet has trouble coming to terms with Sebastian's inner beauty and outer ugliness, even as the two become friends. The situation comes to a head when Rusina attends a costume ball and meets the most handsome man she has ever seen, and must decide what is really important.
Timpanelli's prose is lovely and well-written. Sometimes I felt like I was being lectured, as if a Major Life Lesson was being imparted to me in a less-than-subtle manner, (especially in "Rusina") but overall both novellas were interesting, romantic, and worth reading.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A mix of myth, story, and everyday, July 23, 2013
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A refreshing book that tugs at the imagination and the heart. The rhythm and the images are enough to capture you and take you to a place that works like a spell.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Magical!, July 21, 2013
By 
Beverly (United States) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
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This review is from: Sometimes the Soul: Two Novellas of Sicily (Hardcover)
Great book written by one of the best storytellers in the world. Ok, the best storyteller in the world, Gioia Timpanelli. I keep ordering this book because my friends keep stealing mine off my bookshelves! Wondrous words by someone who knows about love, myth, and magic.
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Sometimes the Soul: Two Novellas of Sicily
Sometimes the Soul: Two Novellas of Sicily by Gioia Timpanelli (Hardcover - Aug. 1998)
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