- Paperback: 448 pages
- Publisher: Random House Trade Paperbacks; Reprint edition (20 June 2017)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0812988132
- ISBN-13: 978-0812988130
- Product Dimensions: 13.1 x 2.3 x 20.3 cm
- Average Customer Review: 1 customer review
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The House at the Edge of Night: A Novel Paperback – Import, 20 Jun 2017
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“Banner’s four-generation saga is set on an island near Sicily, where myths of saints get served up with limoncello as the Esposito family’s bar. As the captivating characters are challenged by war, financial crisis and heartbreak, their bonds hold them together. The island is fictional, but consider this dreamy summer read your passport.”—People
“Like pictures of a childhood summer, or a half-forgotten smell, this book is sweet and heady with nostalgia; not radical, maybe, but comforting as a quilt.”—NPR
“A gorgeous, sweeping story set over four generations . . . The novel calls to mind Captain Corelli’s Mandolin and Beautiful Ruins. It is not just the protagonists and their struggles that make Banner’s narrative incredible, but also the smaller, secondary characters that add color and detail, and the intricately described island of Castellamare itself.”—Interview
“Rich and immersive, this book will take you away.”—Vox.com
“In a luminous homage to the Italian tradition of storytelling, Catherine Banner’s second novel is a lusty page-turner that weaves romance, rivalry and the intricacies of family expectations into one glorious tale. . . . There are echoes of Italo Calvino in Banner’s writing—echoes of admiration and love. Reading The House at the Edge of Night is like falling into a fantastical world where time stands still, yet change happens at an unimaginable pace.”—Star-Tribune
“[Banner’s] touch is light and her style accommodates both the foibles and magical thinking of Castellamare’s more curious inhabitants and the subtler moments of happiness and heartbreak her main characters experience across several generations.”—The Dallas Morning News
“A perfect summer read, made for those balmy evenings on your porch with a glass of wine. . . . The story brims with heart, dreamy folk tales and beautifully written passages about the people who call the island home. . . . Just don’t be surprised if you keep turning the pages long into the night, spellbound by its magic.”—The Denver Post
“A fantastic Italian escape . . . So fine-tuned are the historic events within [The House at the Edge of Night] that one almost forgets that Castellamare doesn’t actually exist. Just like the characters, the reader is torn between the romance of island life and the world beyond.”—BookPage
“This knockout adult debut by young British author Banner is guaranteed to draw comparisons to Beautiful Ruins, Cutting for Stone, and The House of the Spirits, whisking us away to a world grounded in both reality and myth, filled with marvelously peculiar characters, plotted on a grand scale.”—Kirkus Reviews
“[The House at the Edge of Night] has a touch of magical realism that filters down from the island’s many legends. . . . Banner deftly touches on weightier themes while weaving an enchanting narrative.”—Publishers Weekly
“Catherine Banner’s latest is a masterful piece of storytelling, infused with the miraculous (both in stories and in everyday life) while maintaining the difficult balance between the explainable versus the inexplicable. Through the life of a single man—a man not noteworthy in the eyes of the world—and his family, Banner touches on such broad themes as community and the way global events play out in individual lives and larger society. And just as the broader themes affect the more personal ones, Banner’s style echoes the book’s content: The House at the Edge of Night is captivating and beautifully rendered.”—Sara Gruen, author of At the Water’s Edge
“My admiration for The House at the Edge of Night is boundless. Catherine Banner’s writing is preternaturally mature, distinct, clear, and strikingly beautiful. As I read on, I felt the resonance of classic legend and myth, the stuff of Homer, building around this world that is timeless yet utterly its own. . . . A gorgeous, deeply moving novel of life across a sweep of time and generations.”—Peter Nichols, author of The Rocks
“To the long, eclectic tradition of the island novel, The House at the Edge of Night is a sparkling addition. Catherine Banner has created a vast world unto itself of the fictional island of Castellamare, intricately compressed and marvelously textured—a feat reserved for the most ingenious and intuitive of writers. That this is Catherine Banner’s first adult novel makes it all the more remarkable.”—Nicholas Christopher, author of A Trip to the Stars
About the Author
Catherine Banner was born in Cambridge, England, and began writing at the age of fourteen. She has published a trilogy of young adult novels. She studied English at Fitzwilliam College, Cambridge, and has taught at schools in the United Kingdom. The House at the Edge of Night is her debut adult novel. She lives in Turin, Italy, with her husband.
From the Hardcover edition.
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Catherine Banner, an English author, pens a breathtaking yet poignant tale about an Italian family saga spun over a century and through three generations in an unknown island in her debut book, The House at the Edge of Night that revolves around the life of a doctor who after completing his studies in Florence, travels off to an Italian island, where he sets up his practice and eventually he also grows his own family through generations by buying the old house at the edge of the island where he opens a bar and runs it with the help of his wife. This book basically unfolds the stories of the people living on this island, thereby narrating the story of this island as a whole, which goes through war and many changes from the year 1914 to 2009.
On a tiny island off the coast of Italy, Amedeo Esposito, a foundling from Florence, thinks he has found a place where, finally, he can belong.
Intrigued by a building the locals believe to be cursed, Amedeo restores the crumbling walls, replaces sagging doors and sweeps floors before proudly opening the bar he names the ‘House at the Edge of Night’. Surrounded by the sound of the sea and the scent of bougainvillea, he and the beautiful, fiercely intelligent Pina begin their lives together.
Home to the spirited, chaotic Esposito family for generations, the island withstands a century of turmoil – transformed in ways both big and small by war, tourism and recession. It’s a place alive with stories, legends and, sometimes, miracles. And while regimes change, betrayals are discovered and unexpected friendships nurtured, the House at the Edge of Night remains: the backdrop for long-running feuds and the stage for great love affairs.
Amedeo Esposito, an Italian foundling, arrives at the island of Castellamare, off the coast of Italy, after getting appointed as a local physician in that island, on the day of Sant’Agata festival, who became the patron saint of the island after saving the island from weeping(for that you really need to read the book!)
Besides his medical practice and getting introduced with the local island folks, he began to collect the stories of this island, mainly folklore, into his red leather dairy that was gifted by his foster father. But despite of earning a good name, his bad reputation due to his past mistakes and his liaisons, the doctor is banished from further medical practices by the count of the island. And soon Amedeo marries the most intelligent widow on the island, Pina, along with whose help he reopens the old bar, The House at The Edge of Night, and through three generations, the Espositos serve coffee, wine, rice balls, limoncello and other Italian drinks and cakes, devoid of the bad gossips about Amedeo's past errors, the World War I and II, the great depression, the fascism era and many other challenges. From Amedeo's children to great grand children to their offspring, for three straight generations, the house stands strong and tall by providing as a strong pillar to all those stories of the people who pass through it.
Can family sagas be interesting? Heck yeah, read this book, you will know that family sagas can not only interesting, but they can be riveting, mind blowing , heart-touching and extremely addictive. Before further penning my review, I would like to give a standing ovation to the author, for penning such an extraordinary story that is actually a historical fiction about an Italian family, which generally sounds boring and midway through the story, the readers begin to yawn a lot, unlike this one. This novel is a rare gem found in the ocean of so many diverse historical fiction, that is part literary fiction, and part historical fiction. From the very first page, itself, the story hooked me right into its very core and depth where I simply lost myself into the island of Castellamare and with its stories.
The author's writing style is crisp and clear and is laced with myriad emotions that will make the readers either laugh or cry or feel sad or anger as per the story's flow. The narrative style of the author is emphatic and extremely interesting, that is not only inspired from the local dialect but can also be easily comprehended by the readers. The story is addictive and will easily keep the readers frantically turning the pages of this 470 pages long book till the very last page and surprisingly for not even once, the story will either bore the readers or make them feel meaningless. And with a fantastic prose, the story has a moderate pace as the story is laced under so many layers and with so many underlying stories, but the author peels away each layer gently and cleverly throughout the course of this story.
The author's backdrop painting of Castellamare, which is basically a fictional island, off the Italian coast, is magnificent, vivid, colorful and extremely eye-catchy. Surrounded by the vast blue ocean, this island definitely stands as a strong rock to the author;s beautiful family saga. The author has strikingly captured the bluish-green landscape of the island with its old traditional architecture, monuments and pathways. Apart from this island, The House at The Edge of Night plays a pivotal role in the story line, which the author arrests with extreme beauty by depicting as the only standing two-storeyed house surrounded with bougainvillea plant, by the edge of the island that have withstand many stories and sorrows through ages. And with an instant the readers can visualize this old house right before their own eyes, apart from the salty breeze, the sweet smell of limoncello and the rusty smell on the pavements.
From the historic point of view, the author includes so many major historical changes like the First World War, followed by the second world war and the invasion by the English troops, the fascist movement and the recession that are projected with evocatively, reading which the readers can easily feel the pain of the local folks undergoing the effects.
The characters in the book are very much realistically crafted complete with their flaws, shortcomings, defects, wishes, goals and determination. While reading about these characters, the readers are bound to feel a connection as well as their down-to-earth warmth of the characters. There is no such main character, as the story moves from one central character to another, its more like passing down through generations. Hence each and every character from this book play a major role that without whom, the story will be left incomplete. The people of the island are very much superstitious, a big believer in miracles and are very gossipy in nature, yet their unmatched charm will make the readers fall for them. And yes, they are so well developed, that they will imprint on the minds of the readers.
In a nutshell, this compelling story left me allured and enthralled with its vastness, diversity, beauty and emotional depth. I strongly recommend this novel to all the historical fiction readers.
Most helpful customer reviews on Amazon.com
I recommend this to any reader who just wants to curl up with a good book and get lost. This was the first book that I have read by Catherine Banner and I certainly look forward to reading more of her work.