Holy Smoke

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Holy Smoke is set in the Italian working class suburbs of Paris and in Southern Italy.

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Tonio, the son of immigrants, is confronted with his distant origins when he inherits a vineyard from an assassinated friend. Gangsters, cardinals and miracles are all ingredients in this black comedy that won three prestigious awards in one year: the Grand Prix de la LittÈrature PoliciÈre, the 813 Trophy and the Prix MystÈre de la Critique. This is the first Benacquista novel to be published in English.

The action in Holy Smoke begins when Tonio agrees to write a love letter for Dano, a low-rent Paris gigolo. When Dario is murdered, a single bullet to the head, Tonio discovers that his friend has left him a small vineyard somewhere east of Naples. He decides to go to Italy, to return to his roots, where he is welcomed as a foreigner and a tourist.
But things get complicated when he finds out that others have taken an interest in the miserable plot of land. The wine is undrinkable but an elaborate scam has been set up. The smell of easy money attracts the unwanted attentions of the Mafia and the Vatican, and the unbridled hatred of the locals. Tonio seeks the protection of Sant' Angelo, in whose memory a chapel was erected in the middle of the vineyard. But things begin to spiral out of control when the villagers believe they have witnessed a 'miracle' and soon Tonio finds himself on the run...

Holy Smoke is a darkly comic iconoclastic tale told by an author of great verve and humour. It is also an attempt to unearth Benacquista's Italian roots: the small claustrophobic villages of rural Italy, the fathers' war experiences fighting for Mussolini in Albania, and the generous sprinkling of gastronomic titbits. In this story, the author divulges the origin of 'putanesca' sauce, the recipe for the perfect espresso, but above all the metaphysics of pasta. And, as we all know, pasta is a universe in itself....

Additional Information

Author Tonino Benacquista
Publisher Bitter Lemon Press
Page Count 200pp
Publication Size 5" x 8"
Publication Notes Paperback
Publication Date 2005
ISBN 978-1904738015

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