Italia is a story of an Italian Jewish man, Lucien Giorgio Levi (Luca), a Florentine, whose family left Italy in 1938 when he was 9 because of the enactment of the Italian Racial Laws. These laws prohibited Jews from serving in any of the professions or teaching in a university. His father was then a Professor of Astronomy at the University of Florence. He left Florence bringing his young family to Chicago where he continued his work in Astronomy at the Adler Planetarium. Italia is also the story of three women, Carlotta, Cinci and Costanza, who live in Luca's memory. He is now 80 and he returns to Florence and searches for traces of them and his family and childhood. His search is interwoven with his discovery of the conduct of the Italians relating to the Jews during World War II and the Holocaust. The final story, Primo, is a tribute to the great Italian author of the Holocaust, Primo Levi.

Italia is divided into six stories: Carlotta, the 90 year old sister of his best friend; Roma, his visit to Rome; Cinci, his friend, Maria Tornaquinci de'Medici; Costanza, the lost love of his youth; Luca, his own story and Primo.

ITALIA

“Komie’s work is rich in the traditional storytelling of Isaac Singer; sometimes rollicking in the humor and passion of Philip Roth; with prose running as clear as Hemingway; with background voices tangled at times in Kafkaesque conundrums. But he is pure Komie. Read an opening sentence or two from any one of his stories and he is impossible to put down.”

Norbert Blei, After Hours

Reviews of earlier collections
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