An original Italian easy reader by Francesca Colombo
The fifth in a series of five ‘easy reader’ ebooks which tell the story of three generations of an Italian family who emigrate to the USA.
Libro 5 is narrated by Anna, the first child to be born in the U.S.A., now an adult and, by 1941, long frustrated with the lack of job opportunities and the overt discrimination shown to Italian immigrants. The outbreak of WWII hasn’t helped…
Facevo la donna di servizio a casa dei Parkinson. I Parkinson erano una coppia di vecchi ricconi conservatori, lui un pomposo avvocato e lei un’ereditiera fannullona, che avevano una elegante villa nella zona est di New York.
Ma una bella mattina, leggendo il giornale e scuotendo la testa, Mr. Parkinson se ne era uscito con questa frase: “Il governo americano dovrebbe fare qualcosa. Siamo pieni di italiani, maledetti italiani! Stupidi guidos, sono anche pericolosi! Portano qui, nella terra della libertà e della democrazia, le terribili idee di quel dittatore presuntuoso e ridicolo, quel Mussolini…”
La sua vecchia moglie isterica aveva subito squittito, con voce acuta e lamentosa: “E ci portano anche un sacco di malattie!” Poi si era girata verso di me e Paolo, che stavamo pulendo le finestre e la sala in silenzio, e aveva sibilato: “Quella gente… Ci entrano fino dentro casa, come dei ratti affamati, non è tollerabile.”
Tutto il personale di casa Parkinson era italo-americano perché, come dice sempre mio fratello Riccardo: “Siamo scuri ma non siamo negri. In più, costiamo la metà degli irlandesi e lavoriamo il doppio.” Mr. Parkinson, che ora si presentava come il paladino della giustizia, aveva avuto una lunga relazione extra-coniugale con Mariella, un’amica anche lei italo-americana, di mia madre.
Era stata Mariella che lo aveva convinto ad assumermi, quindici anni fa. E perciò, da quando avevo quattordici anni, avevo sempre e solo lavorato dai Parkinson. Mai sposata, mai avuto figli, ci sono già abbastanza grane a dover pensare a se stessi!
Mrs. Parkinson aveva sempre sospettato che il marito avesse un’altra, un’italiana, ma non aveva mai detto nulla. Però questa era la sua occasione di vendicarsi e l’aveva presa al volo: “Voglio questi vermi italiani fuori da casa mia, spie maledette, sporchi parassiti! E non voglio ripeterlo! Prendete le vostre cose e andate via! George, mandali via!” aveva gridato isterica al marito.
- .pdf e-book (+ audio available free online)
- .mobi (Kindle-compatible) and .epub (other ebook readers) available on request at no extra charge – just add a note to the order form or email us
- 8 chapters to read and listen to!
- Comprehension questions to check your understanding
- Italian/English glossary of ‘difficult’ terms for the level
- Suitable for students at intermediate level or above
- Download your Free Sample Chapter (.pdf)
How do I access my ebook?
When your order is ‘completed’ (normally immediately after your payment), a download link will be automatically emailed to you. It’s valid for 7 days and 3 download attempts so please save a copy of the .pdf ebook in a safe place. Other versions of the ebook, where available, cannot be downloaded but will be emailed to people who request them. There’s a space to do that on the order form – where it says Additional information, Order notes (optional). If you forget, or if you have problems downloading the .pdf, don’t worry! Email us at the address on the website and we’ll help. Also, why not check out our FAQ?
Karen (verified owner) –
Bravissimo! I would give the 5 book series more stars if it were possible. My thanks to the author for this incredibly well told, compelling, moving, and at times shocking story of the Italian emigration experience. I love that the story seems to come full circle with one of the characters returning to Napoli as a nurse in wartime. My only criticism would be that I wanted to know more information, and have more character development, but this would only be possible if this were a full length novel rather than a series of short stories.
Judy Jacques –
An excellent series: Francesca Colombo has excelled herself in this (very topical in so many ways) story of migrant hopes and dreams clashing with reality. I was wholly engaged with the evolving story and changing characters, making me think of Miller’s A View from the Bridge for another angle on the Italian diaspora into America.
My 5* applies to each of the books; I found the second book, La Traversata particularly moving and I’d urge anyone interested in improving not only their Italian but also their understanding of modern Italian history to read every book.
val stilwell (verified owner) –
This book, like all those you send us, are excellent, both in format and level – there is a clear division between the various levels, enabling one to progress to the more difficult text easily.
As an online group (all members of Carrick u3a) we find the whole process of reading aloud, and then translating your readers, as with Easy Italian News, improves our vocabulary and pronunciation : the only slight criticism is that the vocabulary often features words that are obvious to translate, whereas several more difficult words are often not included ?
But there again, searching in a dictionary perhaps registers them more easily in the mind !
Indeed, many of us are now happy to make a contribution to the News bulletins, because they reveal items that the British press simply ignore (perhaps not sufficiently ‘sensationalist’ ?)
So thank you – we appreciate the work that goes into these texts, and are very happy with them
You’re quite right about the glossaries, Val. I’ve been thinking the exact same thing for years. It seems it’s hard for Italian writers to imagine what English-speaking readers might find difficult or easy. One day, I plan to improve all the glossaries. But in the meantime, there are dictionaries, as you say. Thanks for the review, and the feedback!
Janet Sambucetti (verified owner) –
All the EasyReader books that I have purchased have been extremely interesting & helpful in my learning Italian. They are enjoyable stories that keep your interest & really are insightful in practical Italian. I have used lots of resources & these are my favorite.
That’s very kind, Janet. Thank you! We appreciate it. And for taking the time to leave a review, which many people don’t.
Derek Hook (verified owner) –
Review of the last book, Libro 5
Obviously just as the USA enters the war, and the invasion of Italy through Sicily, and later the mainland. Recognition that Italian-Americans (and women)are no longer immigrants but true partners in society. describes the terrible devastation caused by the bombing and landings and the help that the American (& the British, Canadian & Australian) forces had to deal with during the initial stages of liberation. However, the story stops before telling the devil’s bargain that the USA forces made with the Mafia to avoid a really messy combat situation and made the landings in Sicily seem easy.
Similar comments about the listening strategy. I do that all the time with Italian Movies (i.e.turn off the English subtitles, only use the Italian ones sometimes) and obviously can only listen to Italian on RAI for my favorites shows (e.g.Don Matteo & RAI news 24). Good advice for others as well and so well fits into Daniel’s advice.
elvino alexandre alliot (verified owner) –
Ciao a tutti! I bought the 5th eBook of Colpa della Terra “La mia gente”. I managed over the last two weekends to listen to book 4 and 5. The weather era molto inglese (ne avevamo bisogno!) so no garden work with my wife Laura Elizabeth but relaxing and reading/listening. Great great narrative of a group of people and the American dream (well…non sempre!).
So well written that you almost feel transported into the storyline. The description of the ballo pubblico con la sua pista di legno is exactly what used to be the highlight of any small village in Italy in the late 50s, a chance to dance with the person you hoped to be able to do so…. Well worth to buy the five EBooks. Grazie a Daniel, la sua Signora , la loro famiglia e tutto il Team impegnato in queste produzioni. Ciao a tutti e buon proseguimento.
Elvino Alexandre Alliot