This was a meandering but engaging multigenerational family saga spanning four generations on an island off Sicily. Taking place over almost a century, there are stories embedded within stories, along with a constant thread of island life, as the world changed all around them. In one way, very little happens, and yet in another, a lot of life goes on. Sometimes that’s exactly what you want.
At 448 pages, could The House at the Edge of Night have been shorter? Yes, but with repetition of phrases like “the elderly Scopa players” and “Agatha the fisherwoman,” it takes its time, and is not in a hurry. Neither should you be when you read this book. Unlike a galloping page-turner, this one will slow you down in an easy–let’s go visit the caves by the seaside– kind of way. You’ll sit down and have a homemade rice ball, examine the old family photos in the hall, and get to know how the yearly festivals are celebrated.
This is a good summer read for lazy vacation days. The dreamlike quality of this lyrical prose is relaxing and a bit languid. You end up feeling like you’ve had a long visit to a remote island, “where everyone knows your news before you do.” I give this family tale four stars.