3 out of 4 stars
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Escapes, by Vic DiMartino, is a historical fiction novel that details the aftermath of WWI and WWII. The book focuses on how the lives of the Italian people were affected during the conflict period and on how the nation suffered in the time of Mussolini's fascist regime. From this work, we also get a glimpse of how the population became victims of the actions of their military; and Arturo DiMartino's family was classified among this casualty. Despite being one of the most powerful Sicilian politicians of that time, his households underwent a severe form of bitter exile. Arturo is Vic DiMartino's grandfather, and through this novel, the author highlights some of the horrifying treatment that befell his ancestors as a result of their resistance towards the cruel government. One action of Arturo's created a chain reaction and influenced the life of the author's father, Nino, and Vic's personal life as well.War is always the final arbiter, and its aftermath is immeasurable in the human suffering it causes.
The book is divided into three parts having eight to eleven chapters each. In the first part, Escape from Tyranny, Vic DiMartino takes us back on a journey through history by narrating the circumstances that pushed Arturo into a crucial decision. He was an influential politician who was threatened by the Trapani Blackshirts, whose "mission was to enforce obedience to Il Duce's edicts by force and, if necessary, by brutal force." When they realized that Arturo was resisting their regime and that his popularity among supporters of anti-fascism may start a revolution, the Blackshirts decided to cook up a crafty plan to get rid of him permanently. They openly discussed Arturo's assassination plot, resulting in Vincenzo hearing them and alerting his friend. The Warning is the opening chapter where the statesman, along with his wife and their eight children, decide to leave behind their homeland and the political privileges. It is from this point that the family begins to experience a series of complications with consequences that trickled down to the generations in Arturo's lineage. It is commonly known that battles have the power to leave deep scars which last for a lifetime. Will they be able to cope with the exile? And where will they escape to?
Some historical works are known to be somewhat overwhelming, but this comprehensive scenery has highlighted not only the war aftermath's perspective but also, the author's smooth and natural writing style. The entire narration has been cleanly explained through the elaborated paragraphs and use of dialogue, which I believe has made this work to be artistically outstanding. I would highly suggest Escapes to all lovers of history including students, professors, and anybody who would like to have a taste of the war's effects from an Italian angle. The only audience that I can think of who might not enjoy this personalized commemoration would be those who are not fans of historical fiction. Although Escapes is categorized as being of this genre, the essence of the book is based on a true story and real events, so the non-fictional admirer could appreciate it too.
The black and white photographs emphasized the vivid scenery and brought the characters to life. Their personalities and reactions are profoundly genuine - a glowing ingredient that helped me comprehend the difficult decisions that each generation made, appropriate to their era. I was absorbed by the cursiveness and refinement of the book's organized structure. The storyline was fluently correlated with the transition of the descendants, the factual data of the two World Wars, and the family impact. All these aspects we're braided in an original and white-collar writing tone.
It appears that it has been professionally edited, but unfortunately, I have found more than ten minor errors. Although there were just some missing hyphens and determines, it persisted through the whole work. However, they did not distract me from the storyline. It's difficult to drop one star in these kinds of cases, but I believe a smoothly polish of the editorial will launch this book to the perfect score. There are only a few words (less than five) that might be considered a borderline profane language. But, as an overall, I appreciated the educative note that this novel offers, along with the valuable historical information and the suspense that I felt till the last page. Therefore, I'm giving Escapes 3 out of 4 stars.
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