Monday, October 6, 2014

For They Have Sown the Wind by Alessandro Perissinotto

Back Cover Blurb

Giacomo Musso, a thirty-five-year-old teacher, is led by love, or perhaps by chance, to incarceration in the maximum-security wing of the Novara penitentiary. He protests his innocence while holding the newspaper with a photo of the mutilated corpse of his wife. Out of desperation, Giacomo decides to tell the story of his life—that is, the series of events that inevitably led him to this cell. Their marriage was not a red-hot love affair, but rather something that grew slowly and steadily—a love meant to last. He and his wife, Shirin, decided to move back to Molini, the town in the Piedmontese mountains where Giacomo was born, when he grew homesick. Shirin wanted to move to Molini because she needed the security of Giacomo’s roots after escaping from Iran. But even in Molini, she remained a foreigner, treated first with intrusive curiosity and then with mistrust. This nonbeliever, this atheist made the mistake of turning to the elaborate religiosity of her compatriots. Now nothing is left of her or of their love, except for the memories Giacomo writes down in his diary in the hope that perhaps he can create a better ending to the story.


Giacomo Musso has been charged and imprisoned for the death of his wife, Shirin. Through flashbacks brought about by memories stirred when he reviews personal photographs at the request of his defense lawyer, a poignant, gripping story gradually unfolds. Giacomo’s narration describes the passionate love story between him and his wife, from their lives in France, to the start of their new life in the village of Molini in Italy. Slowly, page by page, the tale of this couple’s lives takes us to its pinnacle, and then to its slow deterioration, and final its shocking ending. 

This is very much a novel of cultural differences, about the need to fit in, and the never ending quest for fulfillment. It is about love found and love lost, and how social circumstances can forever alter our lives. The story gives us insight into a woman’s dissimilation from her Iranian culture as she tries to assimilate into French and Italian society. But when they move to Molino, her initial joy at living there turns ugly when a small school conflict and prejudice gradually snowballs into life-changing events that will forever alter Giacomo and Shirin’s lives.

This novel is wonderfully rich and engaging, filled with characters so real, I felt I could reach out and touch them. Mesmerized with each twist, I could not put this book down and read it in two sittings. The ending is one that will shock, that readers will never see coming. It is a story about the rise and fall of love, and a definite statement about how the entire world is impacted by the current Middle Eastern conflicts. A very powerful book and definitely most highly recommended.  

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