‘Those who read The Little World of Don Camillo will need no more than the news of this new volume to send them quickly to their bookshops so lovely, so humorous, and so wise.’ Harpers & Queen
In the Little World of Don Camillo, an Italian village in the Emilia-Romagna, the beauty of life lies in the connectedness of things. But, as at national level, relations between its people – normally pleasant, hospitable, generous, and with a high sense of humour – have become polarised by politics.
Since the end of the war, Stalin has been working to absorb Eastern Europe into the Soviet orbit, with every expectation of Italy being annexed to the Soviet Socialist Republic. Russia and America are like two scorpions in a bottle, each capable of killing the other but only at the risk of his own life. There is the constant fear that one side will press the nuclear button and the whole world be reduced to wasteland.
Meanwhile, in Don Camillo’s Little World, where there were indeed more communists per capita than anywhere in Italy, the global struggle is reflected in hilarious relief in the conflict between its hot-headed Catholic priest and Peppone, its Communist mayor.
But now, in this 4th book in Guareschi’s series, it is 1959; Khrushchev has come to power. There is talk of détente, and Peppone has decided to take a group of Italian communists on a trip to Mother Russia. Determined not to miss a God-sent opportunity to throw a spanner in the works, Don Camillo skilfully inveigles himself into the group, and to Peppone’s dismay he becomes life and soul of the Party.
In a riot of shrewd manipulation, Don Camillo picks off his totalitarian comrades one-by-one, trapping them into demonstrating the repressive nature of the politically correct virtual world they occupy. But then ‘fate’ intervenes, and to everyone’s surprise the group discover a common denominator more radical than any political ideology…
As ever, Guareschi’s fictional characters testify to the exquisite humour and humanity of their creator, while the message of his satire, which applies to all times and all places, remains that what works in the microcosm of the Little World can be made to work universally, the world over.
‘Written with such warmth and simplicity, so concerned with the trivialities of everyday life and giving us so shrewd a glimpse into the minds of the people . . .’ London Evening News
'Inimitable, delicious, full of pure fun' --The Observer
'Charming and enchanting . . . Witty and wise' --Edinburgh Evening News
'You'll find Don Camillo not just enchanting and lovable, and at times hilariously funny, but also strangely moving in his simple but certain faith.' --BBC Radio Books by the Fire
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Giovannino Guareschi, known as Giovanni to his millions of English language readers, was born at Fontanelle in the Valley of the Po on the 1st of May, 1908. His father wanted him to become a naval engineer. He, for the very enjoyment of going the opposite way, determined to become a lawyer, but found his vocation when he sent some cartoons he had drawn to the satirical magazine, 'Bartoldo'. Later he founded the satirical magazine, 'Candido', and wrote 346 stories featuring Don Camillo, a character who has done for Italy what Cervantes Don Quixote did for Spain.