Stolen Figs by Mark Rotella
And Other Adventures in Calabria

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Synopsis

An effortlessly artful blend of travel book, memoir, and affectionate portrait of a people



Calabria is the toe of the boot that is Italy--a rugged peninsula where grapevines and fig and olive trees cling to the mountainsides during the scorching summers while the sea crashes against the cliffs on both coasts. Calabria is also a seedbed of Italian American culture; in North America, more people of Italian heritage trace their roots to Calabria than to almost any other region in Italy.



Mark Rotella's Stolen Figs is a marvelous evocation of Calabria and Calabrians, whose way of life is largely untouched by the commerce that has made Tuscany and Umbria into international tourist redoubts. A grandson of Calabrian immigrants, Rotella persuades his father to visit the region for the first time in thirty years; once there, he meets Giuseppe, a postcard photographer who becomes his guide to all things Calabrian. As they travel around the region, Giuseppe initiates Rotella--and the reader--into its secrets: how to make soppressata and 'nduja, where to find hidden chapels and grottoes, and, of course, how to steal a fig without actually committing a crime. Stolen Figs is a model travelogue--at once charming and wise, and full of the earthy and unpretentious sense of life that, now as ever, characterizes Calabria and its people.



 

About Mark Rotella

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Mark Rotella works as an editor at Publishers Weekly. His writing has appeared in The New York Times and elsewhere. He lives in Jersey City, New Jersey.
 
Published May 1, 2004 by North Point Press. 324 pages
Genres: Travel. Non-fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for Stolen Figs

Kirkus Reviews

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But Rotella fell under Calabria’s spell after a quick visit with his reluctant father to his grandparents’ town of Gimigliano and for the next decade returned biannually, “like the olive, which bears fruit every two years,” according to his guide and friend Giuseppe, a postcard photographer who i...

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Publishers Weekly

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The jacket copy defines PW Forecasts editor Rotella's narrative as a "model travelogue," but it's much more. Even without a conventional conflict

May 05 2003 | Read Full Review of Stolen Figs: And Other Advent...

Publishers Weekly

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Such likable protagonists as Rotella's loving father, his wife, and guide Giuseppe are woven unobtrusively through the tale of a culture that counts among its children Tony Bennett, Phil Rizzuto and Stanley Tucci.

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Star Tribune

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Review: With family still in Calabria, Italian-American Rotella seemed poised to deliver a full-bodied account of his travels.

Jul 12 2003 | Read Full Review of Stolen Figs: And Other Advent...

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