The Wine-Dark Sea cover
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Publication date:
October 31, 2000
NYRB Classics
International Literature, Suspense & Crime

Leonardo Sciascia was an outstanding and controversial presence in twentieth-century Italian literary and intellectual life. Writing about his native Sicily and its culture of secrecy and suspicion, Sciascia matched sympathy with skepticism, unflinching intelligence with a streetfighter’s intransigent poise. Sciascia was particularly admired for his short stories, and The Wine-Dark Sea offers what he considered his best work in the genre: thirteen spare and trenchant miniatures that range in subject from village idiots to mafia dons, marital spats to American dreams. Here, in unforgettable form, Sciascia examines the contradictions—sometimes comic, sometimes deadly, and sometimes both—of Sicily’s turbulent history and day-to-day life.


Probably the best introduction to [Sciascia’s] work are the stories in The Wine Dark Sea.
— Herbert Mitgang, The New York Times

Perhaps the best of [recent Italian novelists] is Leonardo Sciascia…[Sciascia] has such deep roots in his native island that his books…seem to have written themselves out of family recollections, the reminiscences and gossip exchanged in the piazza…His incandescent hatred of evil, his love of liberty and reason shine through his tranquil, spare prose.
— Luigi Barzini