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Italian Book Club: Il giorno della Civetta

Il giorno della civetta

Reading is one of the best ways of developing your language skills in Italian. And reading literature, in this case Il giorno della Civetta, allows for a more meaningful and deeper understanding of the language. Memorising new vocabulary is easier and therefore one will retain it in the long run. Our Italian book club makes learning Italian fun and enjoyable.

This is accessible from the B2 level, so if you are working towards the Upper Intermediate (B2) or a more advanced level, this is for you.

Why we read this book in our book club

I have chosen Il giorno della civetta for our next book club as it is considered a classic. It was first published in 1961, and it was the first fiction book to talk about the Mafia as we understand it today.

The book is written in the form of a crime novel. It starts with the murder of a local entrepreneur on a bus full of people and follows the investigations carried out by Bellodi, a captain of the carabinieri.

Prior to the book the existence of the Mafia had been denied by the Government. And even when its existence was recognised, the organisation had been painted as benevolent, operating on a code of honour.

The book courageously uncovers the workings of the Mafia, linking it with some powerful political forces, showing how deep the roots of corruption were in Italy at that point (and later on).

Will Bellodi manage to discover the assassin and bring him to justice? Will the criminal organisation also pay for the crime?

Join us for this four meetings, once a month to find out. This course starts 29th March.

What we will be discussing in this book club: Il giorno della civetta

Our book club discussions vary according to the books we read and the contributions of the participants. However, plenty of help and guidance is given. The reading at home is done by participants as they wish, however a guide is provided with a worksheet to aid the reading and preparing for the live discussion.

On the day, the moderator provides enough structures to ensure that discussion flows, but also flexibility and freedom so that participants have enough space to express their ideas and interpretations.

Depending on the book, we focus on defining the characters, their specific traits and what these mean for the story and for the overall meaning of the book. In class, we talk about the story but also read between the lines to uncover further meaning.

Students focus on specific quotes from the book either suggested by the teacher moderator or by the participants. Together we discuss what the quotes suggest and what bearing these elements have on the story itself.

During the book club there is a focus on specific language used in the book, and again, both the moderator and the participants will contribute either interesting or new language to analyse or simply to put forward and explain.

Il giorno della civetta

Interesting quotes from Il giorno della civetta:

  • „La verità è nel fondo di un pozzo: lei guarda in un pozzo e vede il sole o la luna; ma se si butta giù non c’è più né sole né luna, c’è la verità.“
  • Ma dico: perdio, un po’ di serietà… Voi ci credete alla mafia?” “Ecco…” “E voi?” “Non ci credo.” “Bravissimo. Noi due, siciliani, alla mafia non ci crediamo: questo, a voi che a quanto pare ci credete, dovrebbe dire qualcosa. Ma vi capisco: non siete siciliano, ei pregiudizi sono duri a morire.
  • Il maresciallo ordinò ai carabinieri di fare sgombrare la piazza e di far risalire i viaggiatori sull’autobus: ei carabinieri cominciarono a spingere i curiosi verso le strade che intorno alla piazza si aprivano, spingevano e chiedevano ai viaggiatori di andare a riprendere il loro posto sull’autobus. Quando la piazza fu vuota, vuoto era anche l’autobus; solo l’autista e il bigliettaio restavano. – E che – domandò il maresciallo all’autista – non viaggiava nessuno oggi?

The author

Sciascia is considered one of the 20th Century greatest literary figures in Italy and also Europe.

Born in Sicily in 1921, Sciascia was a literary and critical genius, an eclectic writer, journalist, and a playwright. He was also a teacher and a politician.

The writer followed in the footsteps of other great Sicilian writers such as Luigi Pirandello and Giuseppe Di Lampedusa. He first wrote about the Mafia and corruption when those were denied by Government and society.

Leonardo Sciascia’s work:

He was a prolific writer, here is a list of his novels:

If you wish to know more about Leonardo Sciascia, click here.

How to join the book club

In our book club: Il giorno della civetta, we are going to read selected chapters in advance. We then meet for four monthly sessions moderated by a native teacher passionate about literature. We develop speaking and vocabulary while discussing with wonderful book.

You can book here.

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