“ Print Length: 244 pages / Publisher: Arima Publishing / Published: 10 Jan 2013 „
Dancing to the Pizzica is another book I bought as part of Amazon's Kindle Deal of the Day as part of my promise to myself to read more and be on the internet less.
Dancing to the Pizzica focuses on a rebellious middle-aged teacher named Adam, who moves to Southern Italy to teach English as a foreign language. He meets a young, beautiful woman named Rosaria there. Rosaria's cousin Diletta has mysteriously gone missing, and involvement of the local mafia is suspected. Adam gets caught up in Rosaria's world, and finds himself helping her in her quest to discover what happened to her cousin.
TRUE OR FALSE?
Richard Walmsley writes at the beginning of the novel that the main characters are all based on real people, and some events that happen, such as a blackout, actually occurred in real life. The place names and their descriptions are also all real. The Pizzica is actually a dance common to the Lecce area of Italy.
It is clear to see that the author is very much in love with Italy - he describes the olive trees, the local customs, the food and the people in a way that you can easily visualise. However, I did feel that on occasion he so got caught up in waxing lyrical about the country that the plot suffered somewhat. I did start to flag in the second third of the book when nothing really seemed to be happening aside from the author going into extraneous detail about places he himself had clearly visited. I am not knocking the author's passion whatsoever, but I did find myself getting bored at the lack of action at some points. I would have liked more of a focus on the 'detective' part of the story ie. finding out what exactly happened to Diletta. The conclusion of this storyline seemed to be tied up very quickly when personally I'd have liked this part to be explored more fully instead of having to turn through page after page of Adam's thoughts and feelings concering Rosaria.
Similarly some aspects were repetitive - for example the fact that Rosario drives a white car with a red stripe must be mentioned 5 or 6 times throughout the novel. I did feel like shouting 'I get it! I KNOW what she drives!' a couple of times.
I did find the fact that the main characters are based on real-life people to be a little odd at times, as it left me wondering what parts of the novel actually happened. I did wonder if Richard Walmsley actually based the character of Adam on himself, as he appears to be very much in love with whomever the character of Rosaria is based on - he does say at the start of the book that the person Rosaria is based on is whom the book is dedicated to. I think that while this is very sweet, it did make Rosaria a bit of a 'Mary-Sue'.
The novel is set in the Salento region, which, on a map, forms the 'heel' of the boot of Italy. This novel would actually encourage me to learn more about this region. I knew that Southern Italy is typically poorer and more rural, but that's where my knowledge ends. We tend in the UK to only really hear about Northern Italy, so Dancing to the Pizzica has definitely piqued my interest in knowing more about the other side of the country. The parts of the novel that focuses on the mafia in London was also interesting as I didn't know that there was mafia activity in the UK; and again I would be interested in reading up on this.
I think this would be a lovely book to take on holiday; however sitting here in the cold UK, it was somewhat comforting to read about the al fresco dining, quaint churches, and warm weather. I read it quite quickly due to its chatty, almost conversational narrative, and I feel that the outcome of the novel was very satisfactory.
The Kindle edition on Amazon currently costs £1.92.