The Demons of Aquilonia: A Novel

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Inanna Publications and Education, 2009 - Fiction - 258 pages
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This is the story of Licia Giganteschi, for whom it takes half a lifetime to go back home, to a place she loves and hates at the same time. Licia grows up in the beautiful wilderness of a mountain village in Calabria, Italy. Born of terroni with aspirations for their children, she is raised by Grazia, an introverted mother, and Marco, a guest-worker in Germany. She spends her time between the Zimpoli farm of her revolutionary, eccentric grandfather, and the suffocating scrutiny of her father’s relatives in the village of Aquilonia. When the call to immigrate to Canada comes, for Licia, it is a welcome call. But she could not have foreseen that the curse of the Giganteschis, which she hears about for the first time during a schoolyard fight, will follow the family to Toronto and beyond. When Licia finally returns home and retraces the steps of those who loved her and those who hurt her, she understands how her mother’s life, and her own life, are intertwined with the mysterious women who were her mother’s only friends: her uncle’s mistress, a nun in a cave, and a witch who delivers babies. A mesmerizing novel of betrayal, loss, and multiple identities, The Demons of Aquilonia spans more than half a century, and takes place on two continents. The setting moves from the lush mountains and secret caves of Calabria during WWII, to Italy’s economic ruin and working class exodus to America in the ’50s and ’60s; from the gray skyscrapers and kaleidoscopic neighbourhoods of downtown Toronto, to Calabria of the 21st century, where old secrets never die… they simply become more shocking.

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First letter to Saverio
First Class Toronto 1966
The Lady in Red Toronto 1970

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About the author (2009)

Lina Medaglia was born and raised, until the age of eleven, in Italy. Her family immigrated to Toronto, Canada, in 1966. With her partner, she has written a number of musical projects including a three-hour modern opera entitled Casanova, a cd of progressive/political country music entitled Bald Eagle, and a cd of political rock entitled Dreamland and Other Conspiracies. She is also a poet, and has read her poetry at Toronto festivals, including Nuit Blanche. Lina Medaglia teaches, writes, and lives in downtown Toronto with her family. THE DEMONS OF AQUILONIA is her first novel.

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