- Hardcover: 288 pages
- Publisher: Perseus Books Group; 1st edition (March 1, 2002)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 9780738203423
- ISBN-13: 978-0738203423
- ASIN: 0738203424
- Product Dimensions: 6 x 1.2 x 8.5 inches
- Shipping Weight: 11.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 48 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #784,860 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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The Stone Boudoir: Travels Through the Hidden Villages of Sicily Hardcover – March 5, 2002
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*Starred Review* Maggio opens her tale with a memory of sitting under her grandparents' grape arbor in Carldstadt, New Jersey, wondering if their memories of Sicily were hard-wired into her consciousness. These essays, written over many visits, illuminate tiny Sicilian towns with glorious names: Polizzi Generosa (Martin Scorsese's father was born there); Catania, where men celebrate the feast of Sant'Agata, who was martyred by having her breasts cut off; Sperlinga, where generations have lived in apartments cut in caves that Maggio compares to hobbit-holes. Maggio writes pristine prose unsullied by prettiness or sentimentality. She finds a number of women unencumbered by marriage--like the twin pharmacists, Antonietta and Rosaria--who accompany her, stay with her, or simply allow her to view their lives. She writes of the clothed, dessicated corpses in a crypt in Palermo; of watching Etna's lava flow engulf a flowering pear tree in Zafferana Etnea; and of Santa Margherita, her grandparents' town, destroyed in an earthquake in 1968. She adores Sicily, taking as her metaphor the living stone from which the island takes its building material, the taste of its water, the color of its contours. With Mary Taylor Simeti's On Persephone's Island (1994), this memoir offers an austerely voluptuous pleasure for anyone seeking the heart of Sicily. GraceAnne DeCandido
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"A compelling meditation on Sicilian culture." -- Kirkus Reviews
"A luminous portrait of a time and a place, interspersed with a wonderful cast of characters." -- Chicago Tribune
"Curious, lighthearted, and enthusiastic..." -- Publisher's Weekly
"Maggio is a compelling writer who can render even the simplest moments into sheer poetry...The Stone Boudoir is delightful." -- Los Angeles Times, 4/18/02
"Maggio's tales of Sicily's hidden villages reveal her own deep love and gentle understanding of her ancestors' homeland." -- Boston Globe, 6/16/02
"Maggio's writing is clear and straight-forward...the telling is rooted in poetry and human emotion." -- Bloomsbury Review, September/October 2002
Maggio has a wealth of knowledge to share, which she does in a lively, eminently readable style." -- Santa Fe Reporter, 6/12/02
[The Stone Boudoir] is an engaging overview of Sicilian culture...The prose is delightful." -- Washington Times, 7/1/02
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I am of Sicilian descent and have just returned from a 2 week trip to Italy, 2/3 of which was in Sicily.
There are people in the USA who still live and think in ways that the author so beautifully describes.
We were all over Palermo, Mondello and the south of Agrigento. All true, so true.
If you have no interest in Sicily, this is not for you. But, if you do, this book will make your experience even better.
I agree with one of the other reviewers that it would have been helpful to have a map in the book to guide one as I kept resorting to Google maps to determine where in sicily we were just to get a sense of place.
Other than that we'll worth a read.
I was actually reading the book while on vacation to Malta, and my husband, noticing my interest in the book, booked a day trip to Sicily on my 25th birthday!