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Morte Calabria

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I just finished reading Christos Tsiolkas’ Dead Europe which I loved.  As a second generation Australian I found the novel confronting and difficult to read at times with its haunting depictions of past-generational traumas.  This book acts as a conduit toward my coming to some better understanding of what my parents went through as individuals in 1930s-40s Calabria, Italy.  Anna Maria Dell’oso’s Songs of a Suitcase did similarly, however that book is more impressionistic in tone, something of an Italian-Australian Anais Nin minus the erotica.  Tsiolkas by contrast is harsher, he is direct and unflinching in his expressions of violence, bigotry and bloodlust.  The author conveyed Europe as a continent of insurmountable burden, of which every player, every person, had to bear some or much of that leaden psychic load.  This is the Europe that my parents, and their parents, knew, or more precisely, the god-fearing, superstitious ultra-catholic and xenophobic southern tip of the mainland…