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The Little Jesus of Sicily

by Fortunato Pasqualino, Louise Rozier (Translator)

Translator’s Review: “The Little Jesus of Sicily can be read at many different levels. On the surface it is a captivating tale. At a deeper level, it is a voyage in time, an account of life in a rural Sicilian community, a reality that has almost vanished. Pasqualino ponders the loss of customs and traditions of his native village while reflecting on the impact of industrialization and modernization on society. It is possible to discern a still deeper level–a spiritual one where Pasqualino shares his Christian beliefs without ever resorting to pious platitudes. Imagination, poetry, and faith are at the core of Pasqualino’s spiritual quest as he asks simple but fundamental questions about the meaning of existence. A profound meditation on the human condition, this novel depicts in great detail the hardships and the ordinary pleasures of day-to-day life while examining the beliefs and forces that sustain people through suffering and adversity. The novel renews a tradition of literature found in works of regional and southern Italian inspiration and belongs to that category of rare books which are suited to please children and adults alike: Grimm’s legends and fairy tales, La Fontaine’s fables, Saint-Exupery’s Little Prince, or Cervantes’ Don Quixote. I decided to translate The Little Jesus of Sicily for one simple reason: I fell in love with it. I started the novel and could not put it down. I saw myself in it, I saw my child, and I saw the child who resides in all of us and longs for wonder. It was beautiful, it was funny, and it made me happy; I wanted to share this precious feeling of joy with other readers. I hope you will enjoy reading it as much as I enjoyed translating it.”