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Mussolini's Island

  • Author
    • Sarah Day
Regular price £9.99
Regular price Sale price £9.99
Seductive, moving and full of insight into the desperate acts committed by individuals when fighting for their lives, MUSSOLINI'S ISLAND is a novel of sexuality and desire, and the secrets we keep locked within us. For any reader of Anthony Doerr's ALL THE LIGHT WE CANNOT SEE or Virginia Baily's EARLY ONE MORNING.

Francesco has a memory of his father from early childhood, a night when life for his family changed: their name, their story, their living place. From that night, he has vowed to protect his mother and to follow the words of his father: Non mollare. Never give up.

When Francesco is rounded up with a group of young men and herded into a camp on the island of San Domino, he realises that someone has handed a list of names to the fascist police; everyone is suspicious of one another. His former lover Emilio is constantly agitating for revolution. His old friend Gio jealously watches their relationship rekindle. Locked in spartan dormitories, resentment and bitterness between the men grows each day.

Elena, a young and illiterate island girl on the cusp of womanhood, is drawn to the handsome Francesco yet fails to understand why her family try to keep her away from him. By day, she makes and floats her paper birds, willing them to fly from the island, just as she wants to herself. Sometimes, she is given a message to pass on. She's not sure who they are from; she knows simply that Francesco is hiding something. When Elena discovers the truth about the group of prisoners, the fine line between love and hate pulls her towards an act that can only have terrible consequences for all.
  • Published: Jul 27 2017
  • 205 x 176mm
  • ISBN: 9781472238207
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Press Reviews

  • The Times
    A fascinating debut...the setting and characters are strong and the story is written with verve. Day is a talent to watch
  • Attitude Magazine
    Based on a true story, this is a haunting fictional account of oppression, survival and resilience and a powerful portrayal of sexuality and war
  • Isabel Costello

    The Literary Sofa
    A genuine standout amongst literary debuts. This complex, brave and powerful novel, both tender and hard-hitting, features fine writing and a transporting sense of place
  • The Pool
    Day's style reminds me of Somerset Maugham - the book is sexy, scary, enraging and beautiful - with a murder mystery at the centre that will keep you guessing
  • Sunday Times
    [An] impressive debut... Day handles her neatly structured plot with great dexterity as she nudges her readers, one revelation at a time, towards the truth about what has happened and about Francesco's hidden history
  • The Reith Lectures, Radio 4
    A complex, tender psychological love story, combined with a murder mystery that will keep you guessing
  • Amanda Craig

    Sarah Day's debut novel is striking: a fascinating evocation of a cruel time in Italian history
  • Anna Mazzola, author of THE UNSEEING

    A beautiful and sadly relevant story of desire, oppression and defiance. I loved this book
  • Patrick Gale, author of A PLACE CALLED WINTER

    Startling. A compassionate and clear-eyed debut which illuminates a grim chamber of 20th century history
  • Mary Chamberlain

    Stunning... a wonderful haunting evocation of this forgotten and neglected story of war
  • Andrew Greig

    A thoroughly absorbing and moving novel, one that convincingly illuminates a strange and largely forgotten aspect of life in Fascist Italy