The House at the Edge of Night by Catherine Banner is a lovely novel about four generations of a family living on a small island off the southern coast of Italy. Spanning the years during World War 1 and 2 and into the 21st century, this is an interesting story of world changes and the effects the intrusions of the outside world have on the lives of the people living simply on the island.
There are love stories, rivalry between neighbors and siblings, and interesting folklore tales in addition to miraculous occurrences woven throughout the novel which capture the spiritual nature of the Italian people. Being of Sicilian heritage, I felt this book on a familial plane. There are many food references which caused me to salivate the entire time I read the book.
It is ironic I happened to choose this book and two others set in Italy off the library shelf the day prior to the devastating earthquake in Italy. Even further irony, is that this story tells of earthquakes on the small island in the Mediterranean.
I enjoyed this novel in many ways. The characters were believable and the author described the island vividly. This is a story filled with sensory references of all kinds. Below you will find a recipe for arancini — deep fried rice balls — which are mentioned often in the story. You may wish to make some after reading this book! It is a good saga.
Recipe for Arancini:
Our thoughts and prayers are with the earthquake victims in Italy. Here are ways you can help those in need: